A dramatic timber ceiling unfolds over a new living zone to shade the northern facade of this Melbourne family home.
The original house is an unassuming brick veneer, one of many in a street of post-war homes. The brief was to preserve as much of the original house as possible and convert it into a four-bedroom home fit for a large family. Materials of choice included timber and concrete, with the clients also requesting a light, thermally efficient space.
To maintain the suburban landscape, the front of the house has been kept intact and is entered via the original corbelled brick porch. The addition is at the back of the house, where the space opens up with a shift in scale, views and natural light.
The addition embraces the mid-century aesthetic and postwar improvements in convenience and liveability. However, these ideals are seen from a contemporary perspective and adapted to suit a busy professional couple with a large family.
The new living spaces are zoned yet interconnected. For example, the kitchen has views to the living and dining areas and is highly connected to the garden, with a servery as well as window splash-backs. A large sliding door is employed in the playroom to enable privacy or family togetherness.
The architects’ approach was to use common, cost-effective materials like an exposed structural floor slab, FC sheet cladding and colorbond roofing.
It was important to keep and reuse as much of the original house as possible and to orient the house so it took advantage of the north-facing garden aspect.
The house has large north facing windows and an overhanging roof which shades the house in summer but allows the winter sun in. In winter, almost the entire concrete floor of the living area is bathed in sunlight. The concrete acts as thermal mass, soaking up the sun's warmth and re-radiating it into the house throughout the day and night.