Australian architect Andrew Maynard has come up with an unorthodox approach to capturing the sun in winter and excluding it in the summer. One of his latest creations, Hill House, is an urban family home in Melbourne that appears as if it is riding a wave of grass. The family home extension has been built upon the footprint of what once had been the back yard, without obstructing or losing the original building. Seemingly perched above a rolling hill, the new building faces the sun and the box-shaped structure above acts as a passive solar eave, cutting out summer sun, while letting the winter sun flood in.

The unusual design for a family home was Maynard’s answer to building on a small and narrow urban block of land. The result transforms the roof into a garden and the garden into an insulated living space. The ground level features a large open living area with modern kitchen, lowered eating area, wood furnishings, polished concrete flooring and large glass windows that open out into the internal garden space.

A spiral staircase in the center of the ground floor leads to the new master bedroom, bathroom and rooftop retreat, while the original home has been transformed into the children’s bedroom and bathroom quarters. In addition, a long side passage wraps around the internal courtyard and links the new living quarters with the old family home. The passage seamlessly joins the old with the new, while creating a private internal garden space and direct access to the back entrance and new living zones.

Overall, Hill House is a great example of an unusual makeover that successfully transforms the entire appearance and functionality of a traditional town house.

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