Mention the word ‘renovation’ and thoughts of expansion immediately spring to mind — especially in the expensive suburb Fitzroy of Melbourne. So when the owners of a two-story terrace house in the neighborhood decided against creating a large home and instead sought to turn part of their unused site into a pocket park, they smartly tapped Austin Maynard Architects to lead the project. The local Australian architecture firm — known for its creative and anti-McMansion designs — created the King Bill “forever home” for a family of four that includes a revamped garden space and curved extensions, one of which is housed in an overhauled horse stable.
Instead of building out the entire vacant lot east of the main house, Austin Maynard Architects selectively added a couple structures to the site. Contemporary additions include a new pavilion housing the kitchen, living and dining spaces, as well as a glazed corridor that connects the main house to the old horse stable that’s been converted into the garage and parents’ retreat. Corrugated colorbond steel metal clads the curvaceous extensions to provide a playful and striking contrast to the original brick left intact on the 19th-century terrace house.
“Long time Fitzroy locals, the clients chose not to capitalise on their block by exploiting the vacant site,” the architects explained. “They wanted more living space but they had no intention of maximising the economic yields by creating a huge home. Instead, they sought to give something back to the suburb they love through a rich and generous garden.”
The team refreshed the garden with new plants while preserving the existing pear and silver birch trees. The concrete slab of the new living space pavilion was carefully cantilevered so as not to disturb the tree root zones. The architects included minimal paving in the garden to maximize site permeability; the plantings also help to reduce the area’s heat island effect. The home also features passive solar principles and rooftop solar panels. Rainwater is harvested and reused for irrigation and to flush toilets. Thanks to double-glazed windows, natural light fills the home.
Images by Derek Swalwell