“This House Never Ends” is a sustainable renovation project located in Melbourne, Australia and designed by Steffen Welsch Architects. The project created additional space in an existing building and added visual contrast with a unique combination of textures and colors.
Building next to the existing home, a structure that was historic and Edwardian in nature, the designers let the neighborhood’s eclectic vibe inspire the renovation. The building was stretched over the entire length of the site, rotated 45 degrees and pulled apart to create a sequence of interconnected spaces.
As a result, moving throughout the house creates a marriage of old with new while revealing complex vistas through the rooms and outdoor spaces. “This is a house with a sense of discovery,” said lead architect Steffen Welsch. “It has no clearly identifiable building form but a series of almost equally sized rooms both inside as well as outside that each relate differently to each other. As a result, this home is experienced not as an object but a journey that doesn’t want to end.”
Welsch chose to change the main entry point to a north-facing courtyard formed with three walls of three separate materials, including the weatherboard from the old house, recycled brick and a link clad in a timber screen. Specifically, the new house was actually designed for arrival via bicycle. The first floor patio is accessible from the lounge, and a private study provides views over the neighborhood. Upstairs, a private terrace extends views from the neighborhood to the rest of the city and nearby mountain range.
The design applies passive solar principles, including solar control, thermal mass, insulation and cross ventilation. The efficient, double-glazed timber doors combined with thermal mass provided by the recycled brick adds to the insulation. Outside, a 4.75 kilowatt interactive photovoltaic system powers the house, while a heat pump and induction burner negate the need for gas.
Photography via Shannon McGrath and Peter Clarke Steffen Welsch Architects