Cloud Architecture Studio conceptualised a new terrace house for a large family in inner Melbourne as an adaptable and flexible collection of spaces capable of ‘bending’ to the needs of the occupants well into the future.

Fleming Park House, described by the architects as the "up to five bedroom" house, was designed to accommodate a family of seven including five teenage boys. Overlooking the local football ground and dog park, the house is well under 200 square metres and quite similar to many double storey, freestanding Victorian terrace houses in inner Melbourne. However, the house adopts an upside-down design with the living space on the upper floor capturing generous amounts of light, air and views, while the ground floor – with its cooler, darker and quieter spaces – accommodates the sleeping areas.

The interior spaces are designed to be flexible to help the family adapt to their evolving needs in the future. For instance, the bedrooms can be easily used to serve other purposes such as hosting guests or working from home. Flexible use of spaces is enabled by incorporating separate entrances and moveable partitions.

Of the five possible sleeping spaces, only two are traditional bedrooms. Two more bedrooms can be created in a flexible space on the ground floor near the entrance using partitions. This space can also be converted into a spacious home office when the partitions are removed, with its proximity to the entrance adding to the convenience of using the space for official meetings or for teaching without intruding into the family’s privacy.

The fifth bedroom on the upper floor has been designed as a compact, self-contained apartment with its own independent access from an external staircase. This space is one of the most unique features of the Fleming Park House as it can be used for multiple purposes in future from accommodating a child returning from college to hosting guests or even as an Airbnb rental unit.

The architects describe the primary form of the house as an elevated, stratified, stretched box with strips of horizontal light and moving awnings inscribing the living spaces with the cycles of the day and of the seasons.

“A series of descending gestures, in the form of stairs and voids, create a relationship between the floors and lead people through the house by tempting glimpses of what lies beyond. This visual layering also links the internal courtyards and other voids to the outside, giving a sense of orientation and a beautiful connection to the sky – rain, hail or shine,” the architects explained. Similarly, the exterior of the house uses ‘add-ons’, infills and screening to give nuance and interest to the form.

The materials palette includes timber, steel, concrete blocks and plywood, all chosen for their durability, sustainability, affordability and simplicity.

Photos: Jeremy Wright Photography