Starting with the ugliest house in the street on just 130sqm, Fiona Winzar Architects recycled a 1980s clinker brick townhouse, with the focus on the adaptable re-use of an existing building.

A new light-weight timber and steel structure has been morphed onto the body of the old brick shell, upcycling the existing dwelling to create a spatially flexible home that will serve the changing dynamic of the family into the future.

The north facing living, deck and courtyard spaces are enmeshed by a sculpted steel tensile structure, engineered to support deciduous vines that will screen the house from the hot summer sun, but allow sun penetration in winter. Combined with high performance insulation and onsite renewables, Dreamcatcher demonstrates a balance of technology and nature to achieve a sustainable outcome.

One neighbour described the feeling of the house as "it reminds me of something from Scandinavia -it feels so healthy!"


  • Original openings, foundations, and floor structure were retained
  • A highly insulated approach to the new addition
  • Consideration of the life-cycles of the construction materials at design stages
  • Panellised internal timber linings and flooring were designed using the raw material size to avoid
  • cutting and improve the re-usability of these materials in the future
  • 3KW Solar PV Array provides a significant portion of the building's operating energy
  • Solarhart Solar Hot Water system;
  • High efficiency condensing boiler (Sime Green Planet 18Kw) for hydronic heating
  • Double glazed, argon filled windows and doors used throughout the project
  • Light court running the entire height of the building, maximising opportunities for central daylight access and cross ventilation
  • Living and dining spaces are oriented north to maximise solar gain (and city views!)
  • Provision for a future under-deck water tank on the ground floor has been plumbed in