Reaching up to catch the light
Category Small Residential Development | Project Napier Street Housing, Fitzroy | Architects Kerstin Thompson Architects, Melbourne
Located at the centre of an established residential precinct, this project responds to a variety of neighbouring building types ranging from historic terraces and row houses to converted industrial buildings and post-war housing towers. The context is generally characterised by a subdivision pattern of small and narrow parcels.
Occupying the end of a block, the project needed to address all three sides and respond to variety in street character and architectural types. While maintaining individual entries off the street, the building organisation needed to balance a medium-density design with adequate provision for open space, sunlight and privacy.
The design achieves a unified character while preserving the individuality of each townhouse unit through modulation in volume, colour, and material. Each unit maintains an address on the street and a private patio space in the rear. The living areas are deliberately in the upper levels of each unit. They are carefully separated and oriented to capture sunlight and enjoy natural ventilation without diminishing their neighbours' privacy.
Even in compact and historic urban areas, it is possible to respond sensitively to an evolving context, maximise the internal amenity of residents, and achieve an innovative and contemporary architectural expression.