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Continuity and change in two parts

Category  Infill Development  |  Project  Cecil Street, Fitzroy  |  Architects  Neil Architects, Melbourne

Context

Located within a heritage overlay, the project is on a street of terrace houses, many originally built as pairs.  With few exceptions, the street is stylistically dominated by gabled single-storey homes with shallow front verandahs.  A few homes are built with parapets instead of gables,  but even these include a small front setback or recess from the street.

Challenge

As an infill project in a relatively homogenous context, the development needed to respond to the prevailing character while recognising its contemporary architectural and urban design influences.  Having a narrow five-metre frontage, each home needed to balance the objectives of fitting into  the street context, maximising interior living space, and providing ample north-facing rear yards.

Response

While conforming to the gable line established by its neighbours, the design extends the roofline to create a second storey and inserts two vertical chimney-like elements to draw light into living spaces.  A diversity of materials and colours and a creative reinterpretation of the verandah combine  to reinforce the modernity of the homes.

Lessons

From a design perspective, this infill project proves that being a good neighbour does not have to be a choice between replicating the past and completely disregarding it.  A contemporary insertion into a heritage listed precinct can reflect the cultural and aesthetic values of its time even as  it reinforces the valued character of its context.

More information

Fact Sheet - Cecil Street, Fitzroy ((PDF, 1.1 MB))
Fact Sheet - Cecil Street, Fitzroy, accessible version ((DOC, 27.5 KB))

Cecil Street-Fitzroy