This project began as an existing single level Victorian house in Prahran, comprised of a series of compartmentalised spaces, with some spaces hosting a number of functions.
With strategic replanning of the ground floor, and the addition of a new first floor, the realized design enables more flexibility to adapt each space to suit the ever changing dynamics of family life.
A clear delineation of function on the ground floor is achieved through the insertion of new built forms, both in horizontal and vertical planes. With subtle changes in floor and ceiling levels, and the introduction of new joinery elements and controlled openings, each space becomes further defined.
The interior of the house was given stronger connection to the exterior courtyards through a serious of concealed sliding doors, increasing access to light, fresh air and aspect. While a rear courtyard was connected to the kitchen and was designed for outdoor dining, an interior courtyard provides a green backdrop and an apparent extension of space to the living room.
Arriving at the house, it is difficult to gain more than a glimpse of the first floor addition through the surrounding urban streetscape. The upper volume is consciously set back from the ornate Victorian chimney, while the fully glazed facade provides a reflective backdrop and contrasts the period roof detailing adjacent.
This design strategy allowed the first floor spaces to be exposed to varying levels of interaction with the landscape, both immediate from the tree tops of the birches from the courtyards below, to the expansive cityscape views beyond, whilst maintaining a level of visual privacy from the adjacent apartments.
Throughout the interior a restrained material palette of white with pale timber insertions provides a neutral backdrop for the family’s collection of art, books and objects.
Sustainability statement – please detail how your project addresses sustainability concerns ?
When approaching this alterations and additions project, our aim was to retain as much of the existing building fabric as possible, and work with the existing structure to increase the amount of natural light, fresh air and ventilation entering into the house, which is at the core of sustainability.
Passive cross ventilation strategies were incorporated into the early design phases, while providing the opportunity to zone smaller areas to heat in winter was a primary planning strategy.
The planting of deciduous birch trees to the central courtyard enables the maximum amount of light to enter living areas in the winter whilst foliage helps keep the interior cooler in the warmer months. Access to daylight was maximised, with all windows full height where applicable, and predominantly openable to maximise natural ventilation throughout.
The new first floor addition was designed to maximise desirable winter solar heat gain and minimise undesirable summer solar heat gain. Exceeding energy rating requirements, the new addition incorporated high levels of insulation, double glazing throughout, and double weather seals installed to all perimeter edges for complete weather tightness, in order to again minimise heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter through infiltration.
An onsite approach to stormwater collection was achieved, by maximising permeable ground surfaces and directing stormwater run off to garden beds, as well as utilizing above ground water storage.
Internally, renewable timber was selected for its natural aesthetic properties while being complemented by low energy levels required in its production, which significantly reduced the environmental impact of the new building works.
These core sustainable design principles were teamed with the selection of water saving fixtures, low voltage luminaires and low voc paints and materials to help strengthen this projects approach to sustainability.