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Jack’s House in Melbourne by FMD Architects


Melbourne-based architectural practice, FMD Architects, has designed the Jack’s House project. Completed in 2012, the contemporary family home is located in Melbourne, Australia.

The biggest challenge during this project for the architects was that the new extension offered a dialogue between two buildings of different eras. The existing Victorian residence at the street front and the industrial saw-tooth warehouse on the rear boundary seem disconnected in style and function. The extension negotiates between the two buildings, stretching and tapering toward the saw-tooth brick wall, while internally opening up from the double loaded Victorian corridor to the open glazed space, with the brick wall on the boundary as a feature backdrop.


The existing residence was reworked to incorporate three bedrooms and a fourth flexible space. The bathroom was replanned as an ensuite and a new combined laundry/bathroom included within the existing house. The kitchen was reduced in size to provide space for the new laundry/bath and the new extension offering a large open space with access to east and north light as well as natural cross ventilation. The house has successfully transitioned from a couple with no children to a four person family, with spaces being reused according to their changing needs.


Replanning of the existing interior allowed the floor plan to improve its efficiency, thus ensuring the footprint of the new extension was minimized and the garden maximised. The existing street frontage was maintained without alteration, in keeping with the local character of hidden extensions to the rear of existing houses.

The extension allows the Victorian house to open itself up to natural light and ventilation and provide a large open plan living and dining area. The kitchen is also renovated and repositioned to improve its connection with the garden.


The interior design of the property really stands out for Adelto. The detailing transitions from the Victorian detail to the modern plywood detailing as you progress into the spaces. Re-planning of the existing interior allowed the floor plan to improve its efficiency, thus ensuring the footprint of the new extension was minimised and the garden maximised.


The new extension exposes its structure for both cost purposes as well as referencing its industrial neighbour. Durabeam White Cypress laminated beams were used for the exposed structure, which also doubles as a storage and display system internally. Externally the structure acts as a climbing frame for the landscaping.

The use of timber was integral to the design approach. Spotted Gum plywood was used on the joinery, connecting the existing spaces to the new, as well as integrating its position within the landscape. The timber creates an important connection between the existing house and its industrial neighbours.

Images courtesy of Shannon McGrath

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December 23, 2013 | Property | View comments

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