When one family bought two neighbouring houses with both houses in need of repair and update, a novel solution to their restoration was found; to create a single building but with separate living spaces wrapped around a central spine and with a rear fence that slides away to create one large backyard out of two. Two houses in one, two families or one.
HOUSE House is a design that defies the fact that Australian houses are now the biggest in the world, for here is a house that reduced its footprint as it was renovated.
Melbourne is flat, with low density. There are few topographical or spatial constraints to force houses to have a small footprint and to stack rooms and spaces above. In cities like Tokyo, London and Amsterdam living vertically is a way of life that generates unique housing while also making the most of a densely packed urban condition. In greater Melbourne space is readily available which has led to predominately wide flat single storey homes. But, says architect Andrew Maynard, what if we introduce a footprint restriction? What if we build a tall thin structure that maximizes the small back yard? We will produce spaces that, though familiar in many parts of the world, are unfamiliar in Australia; tall, tight cavernous spaces with light cascading from above.
With its unique and imaginary design, this inner city house points the way to a new approach to 21st century urban Australian home design. With its timber walls and light well, its functional but small bedroom spaces, this is a house that challenges us to think about the way we live.