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Architecture: Sweet Home

January 21, 2011

A tiny worker’s cottage in inner city Melbourne is transformed with two new additions by ITN Architects.

Challenging the existing heritage policy, which creates humpbacked dwellings all over our inner cities, these two extensions to a tiny worker’s cottage were completed in 2004 and 2010.

The original 1850s house was one of the smallest houses in Melbourne at approx 40sqm. Once attached to the pub next door, its backyard had become home to nineteenth-century beer, perfume and medicine bottles buried 1m down into the soil as well as the odd clay pipe.

The first extension, to the rear, employed a long plastic wall for maximum light and privacy from the overlooking buildings.

In 2010 we added an upper level to the front, with an internal courtyard. The old house and verandah were retained below, without seeming incongruous – the reverse of the traditional heritage approach.

Dramatically new at the rear and simple and seemingly traditional at the street end, the house features two bedrooms upstairs with separate staircases, and a fully enclosed deck/courtyard between. This creates a private outdoor living zone, with shade and wind protection, while allowing maximum cross ventilation to both rooms. Movable shutters control the solar gain, making the house very energy efficient.

Solar panels reduce the carbon footprint and also shade the roof from the summer sun.

Team Architect: Aidan Halloran

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