Sometimes, an alteration or addition to a single dwelling is no more than an improvement on its existing functions and forms. At other times, A&A can result in an entirely new identity for a home.

Perimeter House – a residential extension by Make Architecture of a Victorian cottage in Melbourne – falls firmly into the latter category. At face value, a brick addition sounds quite simple. But Make’s wrap-around façade design and courtyard extension proves just how diverse the classic building material can be.

The brick extension wraps around the existing Victorian cottage from front to back – street façade to rear courtyard – and extends over the two storeys of the building. As it wraps around, the brickwork fulfils a variety of different functions: at the front of the cottage, the brick acts as an improved, protective façade; a robust frontage that contributes to the privacy of the dwelling.

The rear of the house is where brick’s true potential is revealed. On the upper level, the solid pattern of the extension gives way to a perforated brick latticework that frames a secluded upper-level balcony. Through the brick latticework, residents standing on this level can see down into the courtyard and across the canopy of mature trees that surrounds the site.

On ground level, the brickwork makes a departure from the façade to form integral aspects of the courtyard itself. White-coated brick extends from the house to form a fence, which in turn widens to form an in-built pool.

Abbotsford’s industrial history was one of the primary considerations when choosing brick as the predominant material. The brick factories and warehouses of the area also informed Make’s choice of form for the project.

“With its existing heritage cottage at the site’s southern end and its industrial use overlay, this new addition is driven by ideas of opportunistically working with the site’s unusual and charged conditions,” says the project team at Make Architecture.

“The relationship of the house to its context is sympathetic and yielding as well as inventive and opportunistic. Through its form and program, the new house is a celebration of the busy context of industry and of brick factories and warehouses.”