The ornate Victorian heritage front conceals a contemporary infill project at its rear. The intent is to retain the Victorian building as a whole; its facade and its rooms, upgrading the thermal and acoustic performance of its envelope from the interior whilst keeping architectural interventions to a minimum.
An initial feasibility sketch provided by Mark Teo from Smith Design, based in Singapore, had the stairs extend along the original service yard to the upper level in a straight run. The extension formed an infill element, taking over the service yard for circulation, providing a considerate and practical North facing extension towards the rear courtyard. We have pushed out the kitchen cabinetry into this services yard as well to maximise the space within the original footprint.
An existing fireplace alcove located in the rear backroom is retained; the room sitting within the original building now houses the kitchen / dining areas and opens out onto the gabled extension. Care was taken by the builder Simon Moustakas from Urban Prestige in the quality of the detailing – the flushed skirting, square junctions and shadowline details provide contrast to the Victorian ornamentation of the front whilst contributing to the sense of space and simplicity. In construction – what looks simple is often hardest to achieve, requiring better care and refined workmanship.
A project debriefing meeting onsite with the builder’s team (Urban Prestige), engineering team (Jonicha Consulting Engineers) and ourselves, Wee Mukai Architects. We trust we have developed the design keeping with the initial intent shown in Smith Design‘s feasibility sketch and provided a clear welcomed resolution in the build outcome.
A simple gable roof sits over the extension. We proposed full height North facing glazing under the gable, opening onto the courtyard garden to maximise passive solar heating in the cold months of Melbourne. In summer, the cross ventilation from North to South will provide natural purging of the heat, and the skylights fitted with rain sensors allow for overnight purging to create a more stable indoor environment.
(Work in the garden has not yet commenced – landscaping works are to be by the owners who had just moved in shortly after photos were taken).