A Contemporary Extension Gives This Australian Home a New Face

A contemporary lean-to extension provides a fresh modern look to this 1960s Australian dwelling.

When local architecture firm Warc Studio was hired to expand a historic one-story home in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh, the design team sought inspiration from the "seemingly ubiquitous" lean-to extensions that were prevalent to the area around the 60s era. 

Although their modernist approach draws reference from the surrounding structures, the team used two mono-pitched roofs with differing gradients to create a new living area spanning the rear of the house. 

The pitched roof reduces the extension's surface area to 12 percent less than that of a flat-roofed extension, creating a more compact building envelope. This translates to less material needed for construction and less space to heat or cool.  

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows with sliding glass doors allow access to the decked outdoor space. Because the area is covered by the roof's overhang, the family can enjoy the new bright and airy environment, no matter the weather. 

In order to meet the project's requirements for both affordability and sustainability, Warc Studio paired floor-to-ceiling glass windows with laminated timber fins constructed from arsenicfree H3 treated laminated radiata pine—a highly sustainable resource locally-sourced from a nearby plantation. 

The wood was simply stained and left in its natural state, which reduced the need for more costly structural steel.

An automated roof window and strategically placed openings at the apex of the slanted ceiling can be opened to release hot air during the summer months. The roof also has white steel sheet lining that minimizes heat gain. 

The extension created an open kitchen and dining area, as well as additional interior space.

A low wooden bench running along both sides of the extension is both functional and attractive.

The bench also contains drawers for storage. A sliding panel connects the latest living area to the study.  

Spatial interconnectivity is facilitated through a plywood "chute" that connects and delineates the original house from the new addition.

A fence at the rear adds privacy and ties into the contemporary profile of the new extension. 

A view of the extension at night.

Project credits: 

Architect of Record: Warc Studio, Andrew Wilson

Engineer: Structplan

Builder: Big Fish Constructions

Sustainability: Blue Lotus Energy Rating


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