Walking past this home, in a street full of heritage terrace houses in Melbourne, you may not immediately realize the building is new. From the street, the crisp facade of what at first appears to be a historic worker’s cottage hints at the highly resolved architecture beyond the front door. This “door” however, is in fact a battened gate that deftly mediates between the public and private realms.
Behind the unusual entry, the main two-storey volume of the house sits between a verdant front courtyard and a rear outdoor living space. Crafted from concrete, glass and steel, this modernist structure is bathed in sunlight from two courtyards with orientation to the east and west, and a quasi terrarium to the north. This clever siting, responding to the perils of the typical long, linear site with built-up boundaries, is sensitive to the street and the rear laneway.
With refined and contemporary detailing throughout, this is a skilful response to context that provides freedom within a relatively constrained site. It enables daily life and play in a village of sorts, highly connected to the outdoors.
On a tight inner-city site, this project is a contemporary response in a heritage context that learns from the vernacular, explores abstraction and rethinks the typical urban massing of the terrace house typology. The result is in an experience of freedom and openness more connected to nature than built form.