The Acute House / OOF! architecture

The Acute House / OOF! architecture

© Nic Granleese    © Nic Granleese    © Nic Granleese    © Nic Granleese    + 21

Renovation  · 
Melbourne, Australia
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project OOF! architecture
  • Architect Authors of this architecture project text, Fooi-Ling Khoo (OOF! Architecture), url,
  • Area Area of this architecture project
    145.0 m2
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Acadmy Tiles, Aneeta Windows, Metal Cladding Systems, Tensile
  • Architect

    Fooi-Ling Khoo (OOF! Architecture)
  • Photographs

  • Planning + Heritage

    David Brand (OOF! Architecture)
  • Interior Design

    OOF in collaboration with JPILD
  • Engineer

    Mark Hodkinson Consulting Structural Engineers
  • Building Surveyor

    Anthony Middling & Associates
  • Builder

    Mitty & Price | Michael Briese (Builder/Director) Christian Klueter (Foreman) External Cladding | Advanced Metal Cladding
  • Pickering Joinery

    Windows and Doors
  • Joiner

    TT Cabinets + Design
  • Steelwork

    Redon Forge
  • Plumber

    Innerline Plumbing
  • Electrician

    Warner Electrical
  • Heating + AC

    Marshall's Heating & Air conditioning Pty Ltd
  • Concrete Polishing

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© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

Text description provided by the architects. Acute House is the transformation of a 'renovator's nightmare' into a compact 21st century family home. The severe limitations of a tiny, very triangular site and the demanding heritage context have resulted in a pointy new wedge of house that is designed to exploit its problems. 

© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

The original, and extremely decrepit, Victorian weatherboard cottage had become impossible to inhabit but was well loved by the neighbourhood as well as its new owners.

© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

We tried to retain its weathered character by re-using as much original fabric as possible from warped weatherboards and fence palings to random accumulations such as door knobs, vents and street numbers. Like fragile museum artefacts, these were carefully removed, labelled, stored and re-installed in their original location on a new mount that not only highlights their charms by contrast but allows the house to live again in a new way

© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

To take advantage of the opportunities of such an unusual site, the geometry required an adjustment to the layout and lifestyle expectations of a conventional family house. Multiple levels were required to accommodate the basic space needs of a family home and these were accommodated where site geometry best suited them. These spaces are distributed over split levels with the vertical space of the stairwell providing visual privacy and a sense of definition without wasting precious space on internal walls, corridors or doors. Continuous circulation is provided through each floor with no dead-ends, allowing spaces to be kept lean yet feeling spacious and un clogged – visually or physically.

© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

Virtual Gardening
While site area limitations and geometry allowed the council to permit building over 100% of the site this advantage came with the counterbalancing disadvantage of 0% outdoor space. As a result, the house interiors had to accommodate the needs of a family as well as providing them with the enjoyments of the great outdoors. This total lack of garden is offset by the artificial internal landscape of the stairwell with lawn green carpets, hanging plants, a central aquarium of aquatic plants and fish and a sunny outlook to every room. Full height sliding doors and screens open up the main living level as a virtual verandah and the pointy, but surprisingly generous, balcony provides the ambience of a yacht in the street.

Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan
1st Floor Plan
1st Floor Plan
3rd Floor Plan
3rd Floor Plan

Heritage-ous-ness + Context
The resulting new wedge of house is designed as an unusual but highly responsive approach to the character of the surrounding neighbourhood, and to the challenges and opportunities for responsive architecture presented by the site and its immediate context. It takes on the challenge of preserving an important but almost unsalvageable local landmark by working within the general typology of the surrounding neighbourhood, "rhyming" with its housing stock while remaining resolutely contemporary in its expression and articulation.

© Nic Granleese
© Nic Granleese

Product Description. The metal cladding provides a sharp, smooth and precise contrast to the fragile weathered-timber cladding. The fragile timbers of the old house were particularly precious as they demonstrated one of the great, but often unloved, talents of timber - the ability to show age. The raw, weather-beaten boards and barely-there flaking paint demonstrate a different sort of timber beauty: a unique record of the life and times of a 100 year old house.

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About this office
Cite: "The Acute House / OOF! architecture" 24 Nov 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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