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East Melbourne Residence

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The East Melbourne Residence is a 2 storey extension that is concealed behind a heritage frontage in a Victorian streetscape. The site runs north south with a block of units on its western boundary & an original period home to the east. The brief was for a light filled modern home that would best utilise its inner city location. In all 4 bedrooms, 1 study, 2 living areas & car parking for 3 cars were required plus amenities. Privacy from the neighbouring units was paramount as well as a connection to the original structure. The private setting behind the original building provided the perfect context to create a secluded contemporary home. Our design strategy was to create a series of spaces to utilize the full extent of the small site for living. We imagined clean & uncompromised spaces that let the building envelope dissolve into the garden. The interiors needed to be compelling spaces with clarity & a highly considered but restrained palette of natural materials to enable the garden & outside spaces to work with in. All extraneous elements have been meticulously integrated into the building fabric to create simple & strong forms whilst not compromising functionality. Glazing is recessed into the structure, the floors flow out into the garden, lighting & services are concealed and equipment is veiled so not to compete. We worked closely with landscape designer Jack Merlo to carefully plan the integrated garden. The idea was to place the living areas & guest room into a garden setting. The house is organised around a central courtyard that connects the kitchen & living spaces. The living room is centred on the site as a transparent container with an aspect in two directions. The upper level bedrooms shield the view from the neighbouring units to create privacy to the courtyard & rear garden below. The building also offers a public face to the properties to the rear. A Victorian motive provides reference on the screen to the upper level to the original features of the property which can be enjoyed from neighbours at distance. The existing heritage building was retained & renovated to contain the original entry, master bedroom, robe, ensuite & study. A period veranda was reinstated with a carefully consider front garden & fence. A basement level helps to utilise the site to preserve open space by putting car parking, laundry, storage & water tanks below ground. Whilst the cost to build the basement increased the construction rates the saving where made by more effectively utilising the site & preserving open space. Several environmental initiates have been incorporated into this project including double glazing, thermal insulation to the existing building, motorised external blinds, sun louvres to north facing glass, a ring main hot water system & water tanks for flushing toilets & watering the garden.
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