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Lily Street House

March 24, 2009

ODR Architects design a house in Melbourne’s western suburbs, with internal spaces centred around a courtyard.

The client asked for an architectural box in an interesting site in the western suburbs of Melbourne; however, ODR Architects devised a response that shows consideration for context, history, climate, materials, urbanism and program.

The proposal for the new house embraced the materiality and the fabric of the laneway. We looked at Footscray in a wider context, and proposed an elevated recycled corrugated shipping container with zero setbacks, reminiscent of the docks that have such a strong presence in the area. However, the client and council had reservations about the corrugated iron, with the council asking the architects to ignore the sheds, setbacks and fences of the immediate surrounds and requesting a roof. This did not meet the brief from the clients; and we therefore needed to reconsider the design.

In the finished design, the house exterior turns its back on the context. There are no obvious windows, no articulation, no surveillance, just a foreign object in a laneway. Internally, the courtyard forms the centrepiece. The internal spaces revolve around this space, which heats and cools the space as well as providing separation in plan. It also unifies function. The residents circulate around it, cook in it, breathe through it; opening the doors changes the environment inside. It also serves as a reminder of the surroundings – the two conditions juxtapose each other, giving validation to both. We have also allowed the ourside world to engage through transparency and blurred moments of living.

Team ODR Architects and LifeSpaceJourney

  • Jessica Smith March 1st, 2010 3:41 am

    Just love the lily street house in Seddon, Victoria. Do you have any more photos you could share? We live in Canada and I saw the photos published in Dwell Magazine.
    Thank you it is stunning.

  • odr architects March 5th, 2010 1:44 pm

    Jessica email your request to

  • LifeSpaceJourney September 24th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Hi more photos available at

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