Andrew Maynard Architects turns a house into a village

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Like the Tardis, Tower House is small on the outside and large internally. (Photo: Andrew Maynard Architects)

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We've already witnessed Australian firm Andrew Maynard Architects' flair for the unusual with the Cut Paw Paw house. Tower House sees the practice up the ante by turning a typical weatherboard home in Alphington, Victoria, into a delightful "village" comprising a number of tower-like buildings.

Built for a young family with twin boys, there's a lot going on with Tower House – and a lot to like, too. During the renovation and extension of an existing modestly-sized suburban home, a simple flat extension was shunned in favor of five slim tower-like volumes that are connected on the inside and resemble a village on a tiny scale from outside. The original home includes two children's bedrooms, bathroom and living spaces, while the new additions feature a studio, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and a dining area.

"Tower House is a village externally and a home internally," says Andrew Maynard Architects. "The house defies logic as the exterior appears to be a series of small structures, while internally the spaces and functions are large and connected. Like the Tardis, it’s small on the outside and large internally."

Dad received a small astroturfed getaway nook during the extension, while mom now has a library. The most striking addition is saved for the kids though, and comprises a study room with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase and large hanging net. The architectural notes also make mention of a simple tannoy system comprising tin cans connected with string.

Another particularly nice touch for the home is the front garden, which has been given over to a communal vegetable plot. Locals are welcome to help themselves to the veggies, and can also chip in and do some work if so inclined. The back garden is fenced but can be opened to the outside.

Tower House was designed to optimize passive solar gain in a bid to reduce the need for mechanical heating, and features large windows along the southern boundary. The need for air-conditioning is reduced via carefully-thought windows which offer natural ventilation. A retractable fabric awning can also be used to add more shade when needed.

Tower House was completed in 2014.

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