Andrew Maynard Architects designed this extension, called HOUSE House, in Richmond suburb of Melbourne, Australia, for two generations of the same family who live next door to each other. The red cedar-clad extension sits at 90 degrees to the original Victorian terrace and includes a house-shaped graphic at street level to encourage graffiti artists to leave the timber alone.
“One extended family owns two neighbouring houses. Both houses are equally in need of repair and update. Our proposal is to create a single building with mirrored spaces wrapped around a central spine. The rear fence slides away to create one large backyard.”
The extensions, which are linked at ground level, each contain a kitchen, study and bedroom, and feature spiral staircases that rise up through the light well.
“With HOUSE House we deliberately went vertical. We stacked spaces 3 levels high. We maximised the backyard on a small site.”
“Melbourne is flat, with very low density. There are few topographical or spatial constraints to force houses to have a small footprint while stacking rooms and spaces above. In cities like Tokyo, London and Amsterdam living vertically is a way of life that generates unique housing while also making the most of a densely packed urban condition. In greater Melbourne space is readily available and flat which has led to predominately wide flat single story homes, and furthermore has led to Australia having the largest houses in the world. But what if we introduce a footprint restriction where one need not exist? What if we build a tall thin structure that maximizes the small back yard. We produce spaces that, though familiar in many parts of the world, are unfamiliar in Australia; tall, tight cavernous spaces with light cascading from above.”
“We have an exposed cedar wall on the boundary. Tagging is to be expected on almost any exposed wall around Melbourne. Most tagging is drawn with black spray paint. To combat this we introduced a black graphic to the facade that either makes the black tag invisible or alternatively can be quickly painted over to discourage additional tagging. The graphic used is the child like image of a suburban home. Here we see the overlap of two distinct approaches to the single family house; the stereotypical Australian home overlaid on the import.”
“Andrew Maynard Architects generally attempt to avoid crashing new structures into old. With HOUSE House we deliberately created two separate forms. We respect the twin Victorian terraces. We repair and restore them. We do not extrude or copy the original as this only ends in an odd tumor.”
“The new structure is built across the rear of the terraces. A clear gap remains between the two. Weather is kept out of this cavernous space by glass infills. This is where you rise and spin up the spiral stair, interacting with both the aged brick of the terrace and the cedar of the new. We’ve avoided using new synthetic, shiny or plastic materials. The materials have had a past life.”
“Like all of our buildings sustainability is not the narrative, it is a core responsibility in the same way that lighting and plumbing are. All new windows are double glazed. Glass roofs can be thermally challenging therefore we have used high performance glass with automated louvres over so that sunlight stops before it hits the glass, not after. There’s no green house effect here.”
Images © Peter Bennetts