Here, we've showcased just a few of our projects. We've completed many more and are happy to discuss these with you. We'd also love to discuss your project with you, so feel free to contact us.
Our most recently completed project, dubbed the disco house, given a rotating mirror ball is located over a curved stair and under a circular skylight. While the mirror ball reflects sunlight, moonlight and strategically placed stage lights, the house itself has been configured to bring natural light to the central hub of the house, allowing a daily dance of light and shadow across the interior.
This was a complete renovation and upper storey extension to an inner Melbourne house inspired by music and cooking and a thorough investigation into the typology of the existing Victorian house along with a previous 2000s designed extension.
For pals Georgie & Nick, this was a lengthy but rewarding project that comprised an extension to a single fronted masonry Victorian terrace house.
We teased out many design iterations from a suspended Monkey Magic cloud studio, dramatically formed ceilings and ultimately a sprung roofed rear extension linked to the original house by a curved gallery hall of polished concrete, cedar and polished venetian plaster.
Crafted on site by builder Rob and his team from Superior Melbourne Homes, we are proud of the outcome and are privileged to have been able to enjoy the house with the owners over many glasses of wine or two, good times and BBQs.
We were initially engaged to review the carport configuration for this wonderfully located house that backs onto a well used local park. The family and community minded clients expanded the brief, resulting in an extensively reconfigured, renovated and extending family home.
Formally, this project engages with how a sustainable and contemporary design approach can respond positively to the ubiquitous bungalow family house typology.
The landscape by Ben Saunders Landscaping is establishing well and growing, along with the family, while we hope the house will continue to provide a comfortable, enjoyable and engaging backdrop.
This project sets out to challenge inhabitants’ perception of scale and in and around built form while celebrating daily & seasonal cycles.
Tight site constraints have resulted in an extension comprising a rear open kitchen, dining & living space, opening onto a north courtyard, along with the restoration of the front section of an Edwardian weatherboard house with complementary adjustments made in response to contemporary, sustainable living.
Ceiling and wall forms have been conceived to play on inhabitants’ perspectival awareness, borrowing from the idea of the Ames Room. An inhabitable Gestalt space, offering more than a singular open plan space. The building and items within hope to stimulate the viewer, depending on their location and vantage point, the space appearing sometimes longer, narrow, taller, shorter, larger and smaller, also affecting the perceived scale of the inhabitant.
The key device here is a triangulated, angled cedar ceiling, suspended over the extension and extending outside, wide at the rear and tapering back to the point in the house where old meets new.
Scale is further engaged with through the composition of the north courtyard façade, thick, cantilevered eaves, over scaled north window and deliberately thick frames.
High level windows, oriented on a north-east angle allow direct rays of sunlight to bounce morning light off ceilings and walls into the space. A cheery space to be in on a sunny morning. Direct afternoon sunlight is minimised, yet allowing diffused natural light to illuminate the space after 1pm while shielding the house from the hot summer afternoon sun.
Formally, the extension takes its initial cue from a simple pitched, gable roof form, however the ridge beam has been angled and split into two, separated by openable clerestory windows, hidden in the most part from the inhabitant. These windows, located at the highest section of the ceiling, permit free passive cooling and ventilation when desired.
Gestalt Northcote represents an ongoing fascination in scale, space perception and natural light.
Photos by Tanja Milbourne
This project comprises proposed renovation works to a rural Bluestone farmhouse along with poolside and landscape works.
An existing 1880s Victorian era freestanding building has been restored, renovated and extended to comprise an updated bottle shop and 4 bedroom town residence.
Texture, contrast, mood and enclosure go some way to describing this project.
The design intent has been to retain and restore as much of the original building as possible, evident in the red brickwork externally and the restored original timber stair that has stood as silent witness to the building works and now looks as good as the day it was originally built.
The front parapet façade has been restored, with the paint removed and repainting/rendering to selected features of the building. All windows have been replaced with new double glazed, double hung sash windows to match the existing, original (but rotted) windows.
The new zinc shingle clad upper storey extension is contemporary, yet recessive in nature. Deliberately defining old from new, without dominating the existing building and streetscape character.
Internally, the plan configuration has been designed in response to the existing room configurations, while original features have been carefully restored or replaced, in some cases using templates to match original components.
New building elements to the rear of the site are contemporary in nature to clearly define original, heritage built form from the new building elements and have been selected to minimize demolition and visual disruption to the original brick building.
UPDATE: We are currently working on an extension to this house. The owners made contact in 2013 asking for us to design and procure a residential extension and renovation to a dilapidated Californian Bungalow in Northcote that had lost its original charm through a life of rough-and-ready renovations comprising cheap-and-nasty aluminium framed windows, aluminium external cladding, and a ‘re-stump’ utilising an old tractor tyre supporting some of the bearers.
Happily, we took on the project and after initially looking at concept design responses incorporating a renovation & extension, it became apparent that a new house would be as cost effective as a renovation & extension, given the extent of the repairs and maintenance required to the existing house. This also enabled siting of the house to be rethought, such as to reduce the street setback and to locate the front entry to the side, rather than the front of the house.
Each morning, many people travel past in cars, busses, trucks, bikes and on foot on the way to work and school, the cycle being repeated in reverse each afternoon & evening. We were interested in how a new building on this site could be experienced by these passers-by and also how the house could potentially offer differing visual experiences depending on the direction of travel. This led to an interest in how perspective could be utilized to give the appearance of a larger, more flamboyant building from one direction resulting in an exaggerated perspective and when viewed from the opposite direction, how a flattened perspective could result in an apparently more subdued building form.
A contemporary take on the Edwardian house typology, this extension and renovation to a brick clad, slate roofed Edwardian house was completed in May 2017.
This has transformed the house from a dark 2 bedroom home into a restored 3 bedroom home with a complementary, contemporary extension comprising a new bathroom, powder room, laundry, kitchen, dining and living spaces.
The existing house did not take advantage of its northerly yard orientation, was quite dark and reliant on powered lighting and heating systems. The rear section of the house was also quite compartmentalised, with very little visual access to the yard.
The design challenge was how to respond to the brief on a tight site with double storey houses to the rear and side.
Our response was an extension comprising a low slung roof, supported by curved walls to maximise the sense of space with visual protection from neighbouring second storey windows. Three circular skylights allow natural light deep into the floor plate, also providing a daily play of ever changing light patterns internally.
A Masonry, concrete and glass extension acts as a complementary counterpoint to an original cream brick and weatherboard cottage in Newport.
The extension takes advantage of the site's northerly and yard orientation; a series of coloured glass panels provide filtered abstracted views to the yard. Spaces are interconnected and open, yet have the ability to be closed off physically and visually. A contextual interest in curved forms is expressed in a number of building elements, from a paved slab, curved canopy and an interplay between half arched doorways offset by curving corners on perpendicular walls.
This house for 5 started with a big client expectation, a smallish budget, a big brief and a small site.
Given the house is for 2 adults and 3 children, spaces for everyone formed an important component of the brief.
The question was, how could all this be mediated on this site for this budget?
The solution was predicated on the notion that ‘spaces for everyone’ shouldn’t necessitate physically large spaces, rather that less defined, flexible spaces and places within for rest, retreat, contemplation and congregation provide the answer.
Everyone gets a bedroom (there are 4 in all) and there’s the open kitchen, living & dining areas opening onto a useable yard space. This pretty much ate up the budget and used up the site, so back to the question on ‘spaces for everyone’ (and their guests).
Three additional spaces/places were found:
The first, a 2m wide extension to the east boundary extended south beyond the existing rear façade creates a small ‘snug’ area, not a room in the conventional sense, but placed where the cat might sit, a sunny afternoon spot sitting out in the yard. Custom banquette seating with storage under and a full wall of framed glass bifolds doors permits the snug to be ‘extended’ onto the deck or for the deck to be ‘extended’ into the snug. Read a book, plug in a device or sit inside next to an outside fire. This space is for everyone and no-one at the same time, to be shared, claimed, reclaimed and inhabited.
The second, the upper stair landing area is another opportunistic space for someone. The handrail stops short midway up the stair next to a wide window sill formed to provide a mid-stair seat.
Finally, at the top of the stair, the landing is a little larger than it needs to be, an ambiguous space, just large enough for a study perhaps (the owners’ current use), a small living area, another ‘snug’. This one has a great view too, differentiating it from the snug downstairs.
That sorts the house and family, but what about the urban condition? This house is on a corner. It should do something for the street shouldn’t it?
Most streets are unique, but this one is pretty special. It has the “Aqueduct and Tent House” by Simon and Freda Thornton Architects a few houses down, diagonally opposite. The Hurstbridge train line is to the north with a substantial strip of vegetation between the side road and train line. Swings hang from trees on the nature strip. Tall, deciduous trees, beautifully deformed through years of pruning around power cables line the adjacent west streetscape.
A brightly coloured patterned screen on the upstairs northwest corner visually addresses this building by day, contrasting with the streetscape tones of fence, tree and sky aiming to address and activate this corner. By night, the screen is inverted, no longer orange and with the lights on inside, the openings (dark by day) become light, a lantern effect over the street.
Pattern and texture is embedded in the brickwork, tiling, joinery and from patterned screens which create daily and seasonally fluctuating temporal patterns of light and shadow.
A vibrantly coloured patterned screen on the upstairs northwest corner visually addresses this building by day, contrasting with the streetscape tones of fence, tree and sky aiming to address and activate this corner. By night, the screen is inverted, no longer orange and with the lights on inside, the openings (dark by day) become light, a lantern effect over the street.
Pattern and texture is embedded in the brickwork, tiling, joinery and from patterned screens which create daily and seasonally fluctuating temporal patterns of light and shadow.
Small flexible spaces reduce the overall building area, reducing embodied energy to build along with reduced volumes to heat, cool and clean.
The ‘snug’ space that experiences warm afternoon sun for a passively warmed and naturally lit cosy space in winter.
All windows and glazed doors made from recycled timber with double glazing.
Low & high level openable windows including the full west façade of the upstairs bedroom to take advantage of cooling south westerly breezes.
An animated, self-shading, west facing façade which is further shaded from the afternoon sun by the deciduous street trees reduces reliance on artificial cooling despite the large areas of north and west glazing, all so important to capture views.
This project, was a renovation & extension in Northcote, completed late 2014.
The existing house had been renovated by previous owners and was mostly retained with some reconfiguration and modification of spaces. The new works comprise an extended kitchen, living and dining area with a new ‘snug’ space that experiences warm afternoon sun for a passively warmed and lit cosy space in winter with built in banquette seating, shaded in summer. A new upstairs extension comprises a study, roof storage access, shared ensuite/powder room, walk-through robes, a main bedroom and a compact balcony with views towards the CBD.
An 1880s single fronted terrace that suffered from the common ailments of rising damp, drafts, structural movement, creaky floors and dark spaces has now been remedied by a complete house renovation and extension addressing a tricky south easterly yard orientation.
The project comprised an extensive renovation to the existing house, including new floor structure and remedial works to address structural movement and moisture issues, new flooring, a new bathroom, laundry and kitchen. A small rear south east facing extension has created flexible space for dining, study and living functions all visually and physically addressing the courtyard with a centrally located Japanese Maple and vista of sky, rooftops and chimneys.
The house is compact and the extension is very small, allowing the occupants to open and close various facade elements creating in effect a triple condition threshold to the rear yard facade which effectively increases & decreases the building's footprint to suit the seasons.
Winter; The frame-less glass operable facade can remain closed during the colder months with the curtain stored within the cupboards. Winter sun is allowed into the interior offering clear views into the yard along with a reduced internal building volume to heat.
Spring & Autumn; The operable glazed facade can be opened across the full width of the rear facade on suitable days with the curtain either stored within the cupboard or drawn across the eaves line. The interior space is substantially increased offering a clear or veiled view to the rear yard.
Summer; On hot days, the glazed facade can be left closed reducing the interior footprint and volume to mechanically cool. With the curtain drawn across the new rear eaves line shade protection is provided. On cool evenings, the glazed facade can be opened with the curtain drawn to passively cool the house.
The curtain provides an ephemeral facade that moves with the breeze, filters sunlight and offers an alternative to the slick retractable insect screens across large openings.
This project responds to a desire for natural light and ventilation, qualities that are often missing from single fronted terrace houses. It also offers the possibility to change with and adapt to seasonal changes and daily cycles.
The project is informed by Shigero Ban's wonderful 1995 Curtain wall house in Tokyo, adapted for an inner Urban Victorian terrace typology.
A small site and a south east facing yard orientation required a specific response. The adaptability of the rear facade means the building can effectively be increased & decreased in size to suit the weather conditions and user preferences, while also allowing the occupants to adjust the building to suit seasonal weather variations, reducing reliance on mechanical forms of heating and cooling.
This has also enabled the extension to be more compact than it otherwise might have been.
The extension has been realised to avoid and minimise disruption and demolition of the existing building, utilising the embodied energy of the existing house.
The difficult south easterly site orientation has been responded to by locating skylights inside and outside the building.
Smart LED lighting throughout can be programmed and remotely operated.
An existing ducted underfloor gas heating system has had all ducting replaced with insulated ducting with newly insulated floors & ceilings.
From the street, externally the house remained unchanged, a west facing, dual fronted Californian bungalow behind a picket fence.
The rear of the house has been replaced with an extension of glass, concrete, stone and timber comprising new kitchen, sunken living, dining and laundry areas underneath a folding roof and ceiling line.
The interior is tied together by a continuous joinery thread, evident throughout the house from an entry hall book tunnel which conceals a drop down roof access ladder, forking out into a kitchen, laundry, study & cat room, scullery and sunken lounge.
This project is informed by: Memory, adjacency, stone, layering, transparency, light, garden, concrete, book tunnel, painting, sculpture, found object, taxidermy, thoroughbred, weathered timber, height, volume, cats, work and play, privacy, pizza oven, landscape, igloo.