HOUSE House

These neighbouring terrace homes are owned by two generations of one family. Both houses were in need of repair and update. HOUSE House is a single building that extends both homes. They are separate homes within one architecture. The new structure runs north/south while the original houses run east/west. The fence between each terrace slides away to create one large backyard.

Australia has the largest houses in the world. Melbourne is flat, with very low density. There are few topographical constraints to force homes to have a small footprint. This is unfortunate as many of the best homes around the world are modest in size and maximise what precious outdoor space there is.

In Australia we go wide and low. We pancake our homes. We eat up our outdoor space.

Often people move to the suburbs under the false logic that they will have an abundance of open space and room for kids to play; however the enormous size of houses now makes this a convenient myth rather than a true outcome. This results in car dependence and children’s isolation from a rich and diverse urban community (as kids don’t tend to drive that much).

With HOUSE House we deliberately went vertical. We stacked spaces 3 levels high. We maximised the backyard on a small site.

In cities like Tokyo, London, Amsterdam and many more, living vertically is a way of life that generates unique housing while also making the most of a densely packed urban condition. It creates a vibrant way of life that sprawl and car dependence could never achieve.

But what if we introduce a footprint restriction beyond what is required? What if we build a tall thin structure that maximises the modest backyard? We produce spaces that, though familiar in many parts of the world, are unfamiliar in Australia; tall, cavernous spaces with light cascading from above. Each space different in personality and function so that the modest home can adapt to the various complex moods of its occupants.

Description by architects

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