Traditional Victorian home gets sleek and stylish makeover

Emerging from behind its high boundary wall, the distorted roof form of Vader House interrupts the symmetrical roof line typical of Fitzroy, which is located in Melbourne, Australia and breathes new life into this 1,291 square foot Victorian Terrace. The extension, designed by Andrew Maynard Architects, is a framed steel skeleton which envelopes the unusually high masonry boundary wall built prior to height restrictions, reclaiming it into the interior. The roof then responds to site setbacks which result in a distorted and subverted answer to regulations. This produces high folded internal planes, allowing double height ceilings, a mezzanine level and spacious interior.

The Eastern and Western facades of the extensions are encased in a shield of louvers, which peel back to reveal a folded internal environment of soft colors framed by exposed steel beams. Playfully, splashes of deep red enliven the interior which is occasionally punctured by windows allowing a cinematic light to dance over the internal workings of the Vader House.

The refined material and colorful palette of the extension, wrapped in a heavy roof form distinguishes itself from the dark masonry clad terrace from which it emerges. These two opposing forms are united by a transparent glass corridor along the Northern boundary wall, framing an outdoor courtyard.

Strategic planning located the courtyard at the heart of the site, allowing both the terrace and extension to have direct contact with this outside space. It creates a central demilitarized zone that allows activities from the surrounding living spaces to spill into. This courtyard ensures that the entirety of the site is utilized. The courtyard’s location also provides abundant natural light and ventilation into both the terrace and extension, importantly decreasing reliance on mechanical heating and cooling systems.

The anatomy of Vader House also extends far below the site. The timber deck in the courtyard doubles as a retractable deck, when pulled aside reveals a hidden spa, right at the very heart of Vader. Similarly the timber floor boards in the extension form a trapdoor that when opened exposes a cellar, extending far beneath Vader. When these doors are opened, they alter the nature of their spaces significantly, providing the extension with a dynamic and chameleon-like interior.

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    I surprised to see this stylish house.