In the past years, Technė has become known for the slick modern hospitality projects that have cropped up around Melbourne. But the same human-centric, contextually sensitive approach that is necessarily integrated into any of their restaurant or bar designs is translated into the conception of their residential projects.

Take Carlton North House, a less public but no less nuanced project. The task involved a relatively significant refurbishment and extension of an existing period residence in Melbourne’s inner-north. While many heritage projects are about sensitive integration, Technė’s was about making the new works distinctive from the heritage parts.

To achieve this, the architects decided on the inclusion of some kind of marker. A folded plate steel stair was designed as a defining element of the project, representing practicality through its robustness, while serving a symbolic function – according to the architects, this stair is “the moment of change between old and new”.

From the rear, there is no guessing at the age of Carlton North House. An angular charcoal extension juts out from the existing structure, acting as a counterpoint to the light, white interiors. The façade also serves as a complement to the two lightwell gardens that sit between the old and new structures, accentuating the connection between inside and out while channelling natural light and ventilation deep into the interior.

“The external design is responsive to a number of design factors like space planning, volume, form, sun control and view control to mitigate overlooking issues,” explains Technė. “Wrapping the building in this black metal material gives a sense of elegance to an inherently simple set of design gestures and form.”