Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

From the front it reads like a contemporary Danish farmhouse, with its whitewashed walls and what at first sight appears to be a black gabled roof with windows. What it really is, is a white weatherboard house stuck in the middle of Abbotsford in Melbourne. Abbotsford is one of those suburbs which was once an industrial wasteland. These days it’s been embraced by families and creatives alike for its mix of industrial architecture, converted factories, hip cafes and cool bars.

This little gem designed by the crew at MAKE Architecture is yet another addition to the fabric of the suburb. Unlike a converted warehouse, which unless you’ve been living under a rock, have been given a good going over to the point of visual exhaustion, this little gem was once a small house that has had its own once over.

 

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

It is no doubt difficult to make a building feel like a home when you’re surrounded by red brick factories, cool and converted though they are. But as they say, if you can’t beat’em, join’em. And in this case, the architects did a bit of column a and a bit of column b.

For starters, they kept the old weatherboard Victorian cottage. Where the house extends, they’ve replaced timber palings with brick and painted it white so that the ground floor reads as a continuation of the original heritage building. On the second floor, they’ve gone black. But it’s not all part of a gabled roof as a trick of the eye might suggest, it is, in fact, black brickwork. Whilst the black brick may have been selected in order to fit in with the local industrial surrounds, it has a surprising element of making the building look and feel like a contemporary vernacular of the Danish farmlands.

 

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

“Stitching the existing white weatherboard cottage into its more robust industrial surrounds, the new addition uses brickwork painted white at the first level to connect to the white weatherboard and then black at the top level to engage with the local industrial precinct,” said the architects.

But this is not just a rectangle addition to an old cottage. This project has sweeping curves, designed ostensibly to transition the house to face northwards. By curving the house and by default creating what the architects metaphorically refer to as a ‘spine’, inside the house, it has created not only a new circulation space but externally allowed for a generous outside area for the kids to play and by some strange magic they’ve managed to put a swimming pool in as well.

 

Perimeter House by MAKE Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

“In a move to locate the new kitchen and dining space such that they were orientated to the north, the form of the house sweeps along the western edge expanding at the northern edge to accommodate the living areas,” said the architects. “Connecting the existing building to the new kitchen and dining space is a corridor space – an active threshold condition – that defines the western street edge. A series of programs is then dispersed along its path (an alternative to the second living room); a new study for all the family, living space and music nooks are worked into this new circulation spine.”

The house has plenty of clever little elements, like the perforated brick screen on the rooftop deck. There is something lovely about a material that can be as dense and solid as brick and watching it transform into something resembling translucency.

The architects refer to the final product as a celebration of the busy context of industry and of brick factories and warehouses. And it most certainly is. But it is also very much a home.

 

 


[Images courtesy of MAKE Architecture. Photography by Peter Bennetts.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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