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.
The traditional arch is reiterated in the steel arched doorway which separates the heritage front from the contemporary extension.
The ornamental heritage interior of the ‘front of house’ is contrasted with clean minimal details of the open plan rear. We designed in skylights to maximise natural daylighting into the deep interior.
The open plan living area extends out in a gable form into the North facing courtyard.
The gable roofed extension forms a single open space that encapsulates the existing house within its interior. The skylights over the passage enhance the natural day lighting in the kitchen/ dining.
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.
Victorian planning considerations meant that the straight run of the stairs would encroach on side setbacks. We took the straight run and wound it around the kitchen and dining area, creating a winder stairs, terminating at the same original landing. The crisp white interior contrasts with the Victorian red brick textures of the exterior.
The stairs now peeps over the kitchen.
An upper floor window lets in light.
As a circulation space, the stairs is now experienced as it winds up behind the kitchen & dining area.
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.
The white palette selected by our client allows for other colors to come into play, enlivening the space. A stone finish with a subtle pattern complements the white base.
The simplicity in the joinery details frame the period features of the existing Victorian fireplace and trims – the white interior is quiet and calm.
The oak timber tones here provide a sense of warmth.
Our client nominated to have grey terrazzo tiles extend up the wall to form an understated feature. The existing fireplace is retained next to the new bath.
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).