Designing a new dwelling for an already-established neighbourhood can be difficult. On the one hand, you want to create a memorable presence within the landscape. And on the other, you don’t want to overshadow or disrespect the character of the area.

Melbourne-based practice Architecture Architecture kept this balance in mind when designing ‘Dark Horse’, a home located in a suburban Melbourne neighbourhood filled with workers' cottages.

From the street, the typical design features of neighbouring residences are visible in the new structure: a stepped parapet, a central window, a sidelined door and an entrance awning. But a minimalistic interior design and a boxy structure at the rear provide evidence of Architecture Architecture’s reinterpretation of the established context.


A palette of black, white and grey was chosen for use throughout the first floor of the home. Not just an aesthetic choice, the differing shades and tones were intentionally chosen to add a sense of space and depth to an otherwise limited site.

For instance, in the living areas – where space and light are abundant – the material palette is darker, creating spaces of relaxation. These areas also open onto a courtyard, which further opens the space and brings light into the home.


By contrast, the corridors have been designed with higher ceilings and lighter tones – a foil for the tighter space. The walls that span this area are lined with metal sheeting, which reflects light deeper into the floorplan.

Upstairs, in place of this stark palette is a selection of timber floors and lining boards that add warmth to the bedrooms. Natural light is maximised with large skylights and generous windows.


Dark Horse recently received an Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) at the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards