Modular architecture and sustainable strategies blend together in the Ivanhoe Extension, a bold and contemporary addition to a suburban home in Melbourne. Designed by Australian practice Modscape, the two-story extension not only creates more space for the clients’ growing family, but also offers a new way to embrace their beautifully landscaped backyard. The house is equipped with many energy-efficient solutions such as solar passive heating, rainwater harvesting and double glazing with thermal break frames.

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exterior of light wood structure atop a dark wood structure

Located behind a weatherboard house, the Ivanhoe Extension is a handsome structure clad in sustainably sourced blackbutt timber and Colorbond Diversaclad. The ground floor is fitted with full-height glazing for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, while the upper floor is wrapped in a curved battened screen to ensure privacy and protection from the sun. The new addition houses an open-plan living space, dining area and kitchen on the ground floor, and the master suite is found on the upper level. The original house has been turned over to the “kids domain.”

open plan living area with light couch in front of the kitchen space

kitchen with sleek black cabinets next to a white wall with storage

“A new double‐height entrance space has been created in the middle of the house providing a clean separation and demarcation between existing and new,” Modscape explained. “As soon as you walk in the front door, your eye is drawn up to the circular skylight, which casts directed light to the open stairs below. To accommodate for the sloping site, the extension is terraced down the block with a slight change in levels between the original house (which has now become the kids domain), the entrance way and the new modular living area. This helps to subtly define different zones, while the same oak flooring used throughout provides continuity and flow.”

Couch in foreground with glazed wall and backyard in the background

kitchen with dark cabinets and a dark island with three tall stools

Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining

The modular components were prefabricated offsite within a factory so that the clients could continue living in their house free of disruptions. Demolition and site preparation took approximately three weeks — the clients moved out four weeks prior — and installation of the modules took only one day.

+ Modscape

Images by John Madden

living room with two light gray couches and a sleek white fireplace with a dog lying in front of it