- Design Team: Scott Eldridge, Jeremy Anderson
- City: North Melbourne
- Country: Australia
Text description provided by the architects. The North Melbourne Terrace is a double volume alteration and addition to the rear of an existing single-story Victorian brick terrace house. The new additions take cues from the parameters of the existing building, whilst opening up the enclosed space to a generous social zone and northern light. Although the existing frontage and bedrooms play a key role within the total project, they remain largely as they were due to the scope and available budget focused on the new works at the rear. This includes a lower level bathroom, kitchen, and living space, as well as an upper-level bedroom and ensuite suspended through the exposed steel portal structure.
From the front, the project is set to maintain a modest street profile, hidden largely in the visual shadow of the existing silhouette. At the rear, the upper-level hood extends to promote privacy to and from adjacent properties, whilst elongating the footprint and directing the outlook to the rear of the site. A number of strategies were employed to provide an expanded sense of space from the modest footprint, as well as maximise value from the budget and achieve clear sightlines without the need for frosted glass or additional screens. This included the overall orientation of main areas towards the north where views could be directed over the rear lane towards the sky while inviting sunlight deep into the space in winter. In addition, the roof plane was folded down both sides of the upper level to promote an extruded sense of space and privacy by shielding view lines. Other strategies utilised the vertical alignment of wet areas, exposed primary structure, and internal spaces were kept open around the perimeter with darker elements toward the back of the space to enhance the graduated sense of depth within the limited footprint.
The exposed structural bays set the rhythm for the project as they carry new loads to the ground, brace the existing walls, and provide a logical framework for lighting. Externally compressed sheet economically combines with the refined steel edges to create a precise and functional enclosure. Operable perforated panels over the ensuite windows articulate the simple form and enhance the dramatic interiors where darker tones of granite, bluestone, and custom formed concrete baths and basins emphasize the privacy of those spaces.
At the lower level sliding timber screens along the east and automated louvers on the north provide further privacy and solar adjustment. A full-width sun lounge reflects back on the living zone, and as the form gently tapers back and links through to an elevated side deck that continues through to engage with the terrace garden. The additions to the North Melbourne Terrace join a conversation with the existing house by inverting the enclosed and introspective format of the front into an open and optimistic space at the rear. It is an accommodating scheme that invites a heightened sense of contrast whilst providing a comfortable space for an individual owner, or a regular gathering with all their friends.