Architecture

Downsizing down under: Sustainable Melbourne home responds to urban sprawl

Downsizing down under: Sustain...
That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
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That House measures a total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft), spread over two floors
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That House measures a total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft), spread over two floors
Australia's Austin Maynard Architects recently completed a house in Melbourne that's pitched as a response to urban sprawl
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Australia's Austin Maynard Architects recently completed a house in Melbourne that's pitched as a response to urban sprawl
That House home takes up almost half the physical footprint of its neighbors
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That House home takes up almost half the physical footprint of its neighbors
Despite its downsizing, the home remains an attractive place to live
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Despite its downsizing, the home remains an attractive place to live
Austin Maynard Architects was commissioned to build a home with "just the right amount of space"
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Austin Maynard Architects was commissioned to build a home with "just the right amount of space"
Austin Maynard Architects takes the view that the typical house in Australia is far too large
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Austin Maynard Architects takes the view that the typical house in Australia is far too large
The interior is decorated in high-end finishes
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The interior is decorated in high-end finishes
While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
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While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
Moving the wall to create a smaller, more private space
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Moving the wall to create a smaller, more private space
While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
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While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
Moving the wall to create a smaller, more private space
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Moving the wall to create a smaller, more private space
The interior measures a total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft)
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The interior measures a total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft)
While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
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While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
A semi-outdoor dining space
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A semi-outdoor dining space
One of the two lounge spaces
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One of the two lounge spaces
View toward the second lounge
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View toward the second lounge
The firm sought to optimize passive solar gain by installing no windows on the western facade
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The firm sought to optimize passive solar gain by installing no windows on the western facade
Glass is limited across eastern elevations
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Glass is limited across eastern elevations
The perforated metal staircases, common to other designs by Austin Maynard Architects
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The perforated metal staircases, common to other designs by Austin Maynard Architects
The blinds move upward, so that the view inside from the street level can be lessened, while still allowing those plenty of light to occupants
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The blinds move upward, so that the view inside from the street level can be lessened, while still allowing those plenty of light to occupants
View toward the upper level
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View toward the upper level
The first floor is given over to private spaces
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The first floor is given over to private spaces
The first floor contains three bedrooms, plus a bathroom and W.C
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The first floor contains three bedrooms, plus a bathroom and W.C
Upstairs bathroom
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Upstairs bathroom
View toward pool and garden
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View toward pool and garden
Captured rainwater is reused for flushing the toilet
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Captured rainwater is reused for flushing the toilet
A roof-based PV array goes lowers grid-based electricity use (and cost)
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A roof-based PV array goes lowers grid-based electricity use (and cost)
Efficient insulation was installed throughout the home
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Efficient insulation was installed throughout the home
That House takes the basic form of three joined rectangular volumes
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That House takes the basic form of three joined rectangular volumes
The blinds move upward, so that the view inside from the street level can be lessened, while still allowing those plenty of light to occupants
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The blinds move upward, so that the view inside from the street level can be lessened, while still allowing those plenty of light to occupants
That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
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That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
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That House takes up a physical footprint that's almost half the size of its neighbors
View gallery - 32 images

Australia's Austin Maynard Architects has completed a high-end Melbourne home that's pitched as a response to the inexorable growth of urban areas. Dubbed That House, it takes up almost half the physical footprint of its neighbors, but remains an enviably attractive place to live. The home also boasts sustainable features including a rainwater collection system and roof-based solar panel array.

Austin Maynard Architects (formerly Andrew Maynard Architects) was commissioned to build a home with "just the right amount of space." Taking the view that the typical Australian abode is far too large for the community, city infrastructure and the larger environment, the firm designed a dwelling that is roughly half the footprint of nearby homes.

Though small for a high-end home of its type, it's by no means tiny. "That House is not a small home," says the firm's writeup. "It's not a solution, nor 'new prototype' for Australian housing. However within its context That House is defiant and resistant. That House is a conscious effort to build a home that is almost half the floor area of its neighbors, yet without compromise of spatial types, functions and quality."

That House takes the form of three rectangular volumes and comprises a total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft), spread over two floors. The ground floor includes two lounges, a dining room, kitchen, study, and bathroom, while the first floor contains three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a W.C.

While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces
While the layout of the ground floor is essentially open, areas can be cut off by moving hinged walls to create smaller, more private spaces

Like the firm's recent Mills, That House features some neat interior design touches. While the layout of the ground floor is mostly open by default, areas can be isolated by moving hinged walls at key points. This allows somebody to quietly read in the study while others nearby watch TV or chat, for example.

The home also features very generous glazing, so to ensure privacy is available when required, blinds were installed which move in an upward motion instead of down. This enables the occupants to retain the view of the sky, while removing the ability of those at street level to gawp inside.

That House was designed with sustainability in mind, and Austin Maynard Architects sought to optimize passive solar gain by installing no windows whatsoever on the western facade and limiting their use on eastern elevations. A roof-based rainwater collection system feeds a large tank buried in the garden which is used for toilet flushing and irrigation.

In addition, a photovoltaic panel array lowers grid-based electricity use (and cost), and efficient insulation was installed throughout.

Source: Austin Maynard Architects

View gallery - 32 images
8 comments
CAVUMark
Downsizing? "total floorspace of 255 sq m (2,744 sq ft)". I guess if you used to live in Downtown Abbey.
Richard Gibson
Jesus... You're saying that in Australia 255m² is considered *small*? Here in England just 155m² is considered spacious.
flylowguy
You have to like washing windows, though.
Lewis M. Dickens III
VERY NICE! FINE CREDIT TO ARCHITECTURE!
Daishi
@flylowguy that seems to be the latest trend. First there was "put a bird on it" then there was "add trees to it" and now it's "use windows instead of walls".
Lewis M. Dickens III
I STILL SAY VERY NICE. A BIT QUIRKY BUT THAT'S ALL RIGHT.
BILL
Wombat56
@flylowguy If you can afford this kind of home, you can hire someone to wash the windows for you.
greg@blainarchitect.com.au
I designed a really attractive and spacious 133m2 4 bedroom home in inner city Brisbane. 255m2 is huge! Greg Blain Architect