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Connect Parkville

Connect Parkville

Steffen Welsch Architects
Melbourne, United States | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Rhiannon Slatter

Connect Parkville

Steffen Welsch Architects as Architects

Parkville Connect joins a stately but outdated Victorian house and a dilapidated outbuilding with a small glass building to create a new residence.


Our brief was to fix the old residence’s non-workable environment in a visually intact but functionally stressed conservation area. Private and communal family activities had to be accommodated while sunlight ingress, thermal comfort, and access to and utilisation of outdoors needed improvement. Instead of demolishing a derelict extension and outbuilding to have a clean slate, we opted for one single decisive move: we connected two disparate buildings with a new glazed atrium space and turned a three-bedroom dwelling into a five-bedroom home with a modest but confident street presence.


The centrally placed atrium has multiple access points and creates a transitional and circulatory communal space; the family room becomes 'meeting room'; kitchen and laundry 'work space'; and living and sleeping areas become ‘retreat’. The children's wing is now separated from the parents'. The simple insertion creates a new sunny outdoor courtyard and provides privacy from the street.


Our insertion is intentionally quiet, relying not on references but scale and contrast executed with appropriate confidence to announce its presence in the street.


The interior as shell, formed by light and air, is not image driven but declares our intent to craft a background.


The exterior is backdrop: casual with non-precious detailing: “layers of light” materials (timber and glass) over masonry. The materials are not designed to illuminate the facade but to create mass without being heavy through sunlight penetrating the opaque glass. The cladding contrasts with the historic brick buildings but allows for reflection of and about the historic context. It challenges the question of blending in or contrasting through achieving equality between old and new.


The application of a curtain wall in a domestic building project including cladding the roof in glass required close collaboration prior and during construction between all stakeholders. Custom engineering was necessary to make the roof cladding compliant, meet the architectural intent, and make the installation affordable.

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