A rear addition to a Victorian house in Melbourne has avoided the boxy form that has become common among residential projects.

Designed by Jost Architects, the two-storey addition to Brighton House utilises white face brickwork, galvanised custom orb and horizontal cladding, which provide a material reference to the classic "lean-to". Curved corners remove the hard edge of the “box on the back” mentality and soften the form of the addition.


“It was a conscious decision to make the new addition aesthetically different from the existing, not to ignore the existing period house but [to] deconstruct the elements of what is accepted as a "rear addition" and [to] design [a] new part of the building that builds on the history of the old part,” says the architect.


Planning restraints, though, meant that careful consideration was given to how the lower level was positioned to integrate the upper level within the streetscape.

In addition to the overlay, the increased setbacks applied through local planning policy posed – what the architects say – was an interesting challenge to accommodate the client's functional necessities. This involved, on the ground level, renovating the existing areas of the house introducing a new ensuite and walk-in robe to the front bedroom, a larger living and dining area, a kitchen with a walk-in pantry, and a separate laundry. The new upper level accommodates a master bedroom with ensuite, a walk-in robe and a study. 

Addressing sustainability, the design has used long-lasting, hard wearing materials such as decorative concrete flooring with in-slab and zoned hydronic heating throughout, and natural timber. Other features consist of double glazed steel windows and sliding doors, inground water tank, solar hot boosted water, a 4.6kW PV system, and a 4.5 NatHERs rating well above the required 3.7 NatHERs rating for additions.