Melbourne Design Studios has dramatically transformed a row of townhouses in the historic, post-industrial neighborhood of Richmond, Melbourne. The six bespoke urban homes—named ‘No Two The Same’—are strikingly contemporary, with light-filled interiors, handsome facades and a bevy of sustainable features that have earned the project an average 7-Star NatHERS Rating across all townhouses. The sustainable development was recently awarded Building Design of the Year at the 2018 Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) Awards.
Located opposite a former shoe factory, the project included a number of challenges in addition to its narrow laneway location. The heritage setting required careful design attention, particularly due to its unusual battle-axe shape and the inclusion of a derelict heritage home in desperate need of an extensive renovation. Wanting to complement the neighborhood’s mix of Victorian architecture and warehouse conversions, the architects scaled the development to fit the area’s proportions and gave each townhouse an individualized facade constructed with materials that reference the area’s industrial past. The perforated laser-cut screens, in particular, double as artwork referencing local culture.
Each home comprises three to four bedrooms and two bathrooms within 200 to 230 square meters of space that opens up to 100 to 120 square meters of outdoor space. “Marking a significant departure from conventional townhouse typology, each dwelling offers multi-functional and spacious living in an otherwise tightly built-up urban area,” explain the architects. “Boasting a rare combination of light-filled internal spaces gathered around multiple outdoor spaces and rooftop terrace with city skyline views, each townhouse has over 20% more outdoor space than a typical solution, with the six different outdoor spaces designed for various activities and purposes.”
To meet sustainability targets, the architects relied on passive solar principles, which dictated north-facing orientation, the “thermal chimney” effect that dispels hot air in summer, and cross-ventilation year-round. Natural and recycled materials were used throughout. Natural light is drawn deep into the home through double-glazed, thermally broken windows. The home also includes highly efficient insulation, solar hot-water heaters, and rainwater tanks that provide 14,000 liters of storage across the entire development.
Images by Peter Clarke