Perforated House / Kavellaris Urban Design

© Kavellaris Urban Design

Architects: Kavellaris Urban Design
Location: ,
Project team: Billy Kavellaris & Rodrigo Sandoval Mateluna
Photographs: Courtesy of Kavellaris Urban Design

© Kavellaris Urban Design

This project to us is a platform to establish a critical dialogue within our built environment; to raise questions as much as it is to finding solutions. The project is a critique on our cultural attitudes and how we determine them. A critique on what we consider to be of heritage significance and how to narrate such ideas in a critical and contemporary manner.


We challenge the idea that small inner city blocks cannot respond to complex contextual constraints such as orientation, sustainability, innovative urban infill planning controls and heritage restrictions. Instead of negotiating with these so called ‘constraints’, we utilized them as areas of possibility and exploration for our design processes and discourse.

© Kavellaris Urban Design

This once vacant site is nestled at the eastern bookend between a row of single fronted Victorian terraces and a double fronted Edwardian weatherboard house. Our strategy was to critique and respond to our ongoing research into the terrace typology. We concluded that this demand and attraction for such a housing model has a stronger link with romanticized nostalgia rather than of good design with the emphasis residing on the symbolism of the ornamental facade, which dictates “the neighbourhood character” instead of responding to it.

© Kavellaris Urban Design

Our strategy was to break down the elements of the terrace house, and to critique and respond. Respond to the terrace house’s inability to address solar orientation, the poor linear program that is constantly remodelled with predictable repetitive and limited planning to achieve some sort of link between the active habitable space and the external private open space and the lack of natural light and ventilation into the house.

The main areas of investigation were Symbolism and Ornamentation, the Public and Private realm and redefining its boundaries, Solar Orientation, environmental sustainability and the programming of the plan.

© Kavellaris Urban Design

The built form is essentially an urban infill within a very small 5.5×14.4m envelope. The perforated house is our response to establish an alternative language to the accepted notion of our cultural attitude towards critical questions of identity and heritage.

We were interested in retaining the ‘idea’ and the ‘symbolism’ of the terrace but elevating the gesture to an ironic or even satirical level to engage in a public debate. The irony is manifested through the idea that it’s only through the absence of matter, that through perforation; the idea of the symbol of the terrace house is manifested rather than a physical reproduction of terrace house.

Cite: "Perforated House / Kavellaris Urban Design" 14 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • Alex

    Apparently the “main areas of investigation” in the blurb were Pomposity and Purple Prose.

    Very nice design, however.

  • mr T

    very clever. but, it replaces the social street orientation with a rear social orientation. the terrace house prioritised a relation with street which this design reduces to mere ‘representation’ alone & which, practically speaking, amounts to a chair behind a curtain.

  • Dennis Moss Jnr

    Why must everything that isn’t completely new and contemporary be considered “romanticized nostalgia”? (Does everything have to be so black and white with architects?) Doesn’t the continued demand for old models of design say something about their relevance (and about the shortcomings of this IRONIC OR EVEN SATIRICAL approach as you put it)? How can you expect to build successful urban environments with this kind of attitude?
    As for the “neighbourhood character”: how can you respond to it if there wasn’t someone before you who dictated it? The terrace typology, for example, was dictated by a shared need for frontage onto a street. It’s a model that has produced qualitative and harmonious settlements for centuries, all over the world. New units could respond to the existing context and facades without ruining the integrity of the whole. This is a poor replacement.

    • mr m

      i agree with the comment above. the whole design seems to lack a meaning or sense of place. disappointing

  • John Smith

    yer far out this is totally what architects in Melbourne are like not all of them but a lot of them are just a bunch of designers.