Measured and Modest – Northcote III by Project 12 Architecture
Northcote, VIC, Australia

Words Bronwyn Marshall

Expanding an existing home in the Melbourne’s Northcote, Northcote III creates a series of spaces that engage meaningfully with its site, while allowing its occupants to co-exist with ease. Project 12 Architecture utilises a modest approach with restrained connections and materiality that allowed a feasible expansion within measured means.

Set amongst similar scaled family homes in Melbourne’s inner north, Northcote III is an experiment in expansion within considered and reasonable means to an existing inter-war residence. Home to its young and growing family, the existing spaces lacked a cohesive communal living zone, which has become such a signature and necessity in contemporary living. The familiar story of extending outward allows the family both additional spaces to gather, cook, eat and socialise, but also additional room to breathe. Prior to the renovation and extension, the family noted that while they could gather within the existing conditions, they lacked the ability to also break away and retreat. It was one or the other, not both. And with a growing family, the ability to engage and disengage would only become more prevalent over the coming years. Project 12 Architecture fittingly proposes an extension that increases the liveable family zone, while integrating key joinery, storage and amenity to support a family and its many accruements.

The familiar story of extending outward allows the family both additional spaces to gather, cook, eat and socialise, but also additional room to breathe.

Built by Frame Works Co., together with landscaping by Haydn Barling Landscapes, Northcote III embraces its rear garden and the extension as an open gesture that connects the natural and the built. Ensuring natural light could enter and illuminate the home was key. Underpinning the north facing living volume is an embrace of natural elements, where curated openings are placed to control and allow cross ventilation to occur, while the large and generous deck extends out to the north, into the landscaped garden as an extension of the living space. High level operable windows then allow for non-direct light as needed, but also for the rising heat internally to escape.

A highly controllable environment, the extension acts as a portal between the more formal and structured original home and the openness of the yard. Using modularity, elements are able to be changed and moved as needed, to suit. A palette of natural and muted finished both internally and externally ensures an endurability to the tests of a family environment, while not becoming outdated in the process. The timing of the completion also coincided with using the space as a co-working environment, and the elements of flexibility and added volume in general have fittingly coming into fruition at the right time.

A palette of natural and muted finished both internally and externally ensures an endurability to the tests of a family environment, while not becoming outdated in the process.

Northcote III allows its residents to both expand and engage with each other, while also having the embedded ability to contract as needed. Project 12 Architecture has utilised modesty and modularity to their advantage and created an enviable and rightly measured home in the process.

Published 21 April, 2021
Photography  Glenn Hester Photography
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