An Inventive Melbourne Remodel Greets the Street With a New Garden

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Originally built in the 1850s, King Bill by Austin Maynard Architects gains a pocket park and a playful expansion.

Full of bohemian soul, the heritage neighborhood of Fitzroy in Melbourne is known as a real estate hot spot. But rather than capitalize on their block and exploit a vacant garden east of their property, the family of four who own King Bill decided to create a new pocket park to bring more greenery to the streetscape.

When it came time to renovate their double-story terrace home, the owners sought out local studio Austin Maynard Architects—a firm known for its sustainable ethos—who incorporated the empty garden to the east, and an old stable at the rear, to the new floor plan. 

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Respecting the site’s heritage, Austin Maynard Architects retained the terrace facade of King Bill. 

Respecting the site’s heritage, Austin Maynard Architects retained the terrace facade of King Bill. 

Perforations were added to the boundary wall on the east, and the entrance was moved to the side to become a bright corridor connecting the old house with the stable and pavilions.

Perforations were added to the boundary wall on the east, and the entrance was moved to the side to become a bright corridor connecting the old house with the stable and pavilions.

The main house, rear stable, and a new pavilion in the garden were unified with corrugated, ColorBond steel metal cladding.  

The main house, rear stable, and a new pavilion in the garden were unified with corrugated, ColorBond steel metal cladding.  

Corrugated Custom Orb cladding in Surfmist defines each of the additions, clarifying the stable building, glass pavilion, and bedroom. "The advantage of the profile is that it can be rolled to create sweeping curves and sun-shading eyelids," says founding direction Andrew Maynard. "The versatility of using the linear ribs vertically or horizontally allows the material to be used practically in different applications, to shade and guide rain water in the case of the stable and pop out, or to create the curve of a building, in the case of the pavilion."

The glass pavilion that sits in the middle of the existing garden offers a wonderful contrast to the dark masonry walls and the sturdy, two-story terraces on its flanks.

The glass pavilion that sits in the middle of the existing garden offers a wonderful contrast to the dark masonry walls and the sturdy, two-story terraces on its flanks.

The architects completely re-thought the idea of the terrace house. "Typically, you walk through the front door of a terrace, past two bedrooms to the kitchen/living and small rear yard, which is usually overshadowed by the house itself," says Maynard. "We set aside these principles and looked at the house as empty spaces that needed new purpose."

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The renovation and extension increased the size of the property to 5,372 square feet.

The renovation and extension increased the size of the property to 5,372 square feet.

The architects created a new, glazed corridor along the eastern, outer wall of the original terraces.  

The architects created a new, glazed corridor along the eastern, outer wall of the original terraces.  

This new corridor connects the original house with the remodeled stable, and a new pavilion where the kitchen, living, and dining areas are located.

This new corridor connects the original house with the remodeled stable, and a new pavilion where the kitchen, living, and dining areas are located.

With the entry relocated, the original terrace entrance porch was transformed into a garden, and the entry corridor was repurposed as a bathroom.

With the entry relocated, the original terrace entrance porch was transformed into a garden, and the entry corridor was repurposed as a bathroom.

The Y-shaped steel framing were carefully arranged to accommodate three trunks and branches, and thin piers were used for the foundations of the framing to ensure minimal impact on the ground and tree roots. The roof is covered with solar panels with micro-inverters.  

The brick walls, timber beams, and fireplaces in the old rear stable were restored, and new Zincalume—metallic-coated sheet steel—walls were added. 

The brick walls, timber beams, and fireplaces in the old rear stable were restored, and new Zincalume—metallic-coated sheet steel—walls were added. 

A "pop-out" bedroom.

A "pop-out" bedroom.

"The parents can now step out of the bath, slide the wall away, and then air dry themselves on the net in front of the big, sunny, north-facing window," says Maynard. 

"The parents can now step out of the bath, slide the wall away, and then air dry themselves on the net in front of the big, sunny, north-facing window," says Maynard. 

To create different moods in the garden and outdoor areas, the architects retained the existing trees on the site. The new, concrete slab pavilion (where the living, kitchen, and dining are located) cantilevers beyond its footings to avoid the roots of the existing Ornamental Pear and Silver Birch trees. 

A large, curved, sliding wall separates the master bathroom from an open net lounge area above the study.

A large, curved, sliding wall separates the master bathroom from an open net lounge area above the study.

Buried within the rear yard is a large water tank that provides water for the flush toilets and watering the garden. "King Bill is a collage of its built history, its textures, its forms, its order, and its chaos," says Maynard. 

A garage and study with the master bedroom and bathroom on the upper level.

A garage and study with the master bedroom and bathroom on the upper level.

The stable was repurposed as a garage and a retreat space for the parents.

The stable was repurposed as a garage and a retreat space for the parents.

King Bill maximizes available daylight, and was designed to provide passive cooling in summer and increase solar gain in winter.

King Bill maximizes available daylight, and was designed to provide passive cooling in summer and increase solar gain in winter.

King Bill ground floor plan

King Bill ground floor plan

King Bill first floor plan

King Bill first floor plan

King Bill sectional

King Bill sectional

Project Credits: 

Architecture: Austin Maynard Architects  / @austinmaynardarchitects

Builder: CBD Contracting 

Structural engineering: Hive Engineering

Landscape design: Bush Projects

Net engineer: Tensy

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