Sited on a "pizza-shaped" lot in Albert Park area of Melbourne, a Victorian home was in need of a major renovation for a family of four. Charged with removing inefficient, ad hoc additions at the rear and adding on an architecturally distinct, light-filled space for the family, Melbourne–based architecture firm WALA created a volume covered on the exterior with a "wall of light" made out of translucent polycarbonate.
WALA started with rethinking the traditional placement of bedrooms on the second floor, instead locating them on the first floor in the rear addition. This decision allowed the bedrooms to take advantage of the privacy and security of a new street wall while opening up the living room on the second floor to receive better views and daylight.
On the exterior, local preservation laws required the new addition to be visually distinct from the historic facade, and WALA sought to connect the two through form and color. Inspired by the slopes and angles of the existing home’s gabled roof and those of the Victorian homes in the area, the design team created a faceted, angular facade of vertical battens for the new extension.
The battens not only have strong graphic sensibility, but also create privacy and views into neighboring gardens, while a full-height polycarbonate wall along living spaces on the upper floor allows for lots of daylight and provides a fresh alternative to traditional punched windows.
WALA also considered color and material palette, looking to shades of white and translucency to tie both parts of the home together. To break up the neutral tones, texture became critical, with the regular machined finish of aluminum-extruded battens contrasting with the aged texture of the existing building’s weatherboard cladding.
On the interior of the home, light pours in on the second floor from the spaces between the battens, and are emphasized with mostly white interiors with moments of color like a sculptural pink sofa, blue dining chairs, or a sliding yellow door.
On the first floor, a bedroom with neutral colors opens up to a private garden, with protection overhead from a cantilevered second floor.
At street level, the architects were able to introduce a shared garden at the because of the irregularly shaped site. The garden is made possible by angling the home’s street wall back away from the sidewalk, creating a small green space. The garden promotes engagement with the street and passersby, ultimately making the intervention a way of thoughtfully integrating into the neighborhood.
Builder: Daylan Developments
Structural Engineer: R.I. Brown
Civil Engineer: R.I. Brown
Landscape Design Company: Australian Vertical Garden Group
Lighting Supplier: Beacon Lighting
Interior Stylist: Rowena Moore
Cabinetry Design: LV Kitchens
Window Supplier: Uptons Windows
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