Continuity and change in two parts
Category Infill Development | Project Cecil Street, Fitzroy | Architects Neil Architects, Melbourne
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.
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.
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.
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.