Two Victorian Cottages Become One – RaeRae House by Austin Maynard Architects
North Fitzroy, VIC, Australia

Photography Peter Bennetts
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Combining a sense of considered precision with nuanced elements of intrigue and discovery, RaeRae House carves its own urban personality. Through an inquisitive approach, Austin Maynard Architects responds to the home’s specific context and purpose.

Uniquely straddling two adjacent blocks in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy, the new home sees the retention of two pre-existing Victorian cottage façades, with a glazed entry sitting between the two, set back from these totems of history. Welcoming its owners and guests inward, the unifying entry element sits secondary to its heritage-listed friends, and acts as a link between the two previous homes. Through a sense of enquiry and intrigue, Austin Maynard creates a considered impression of discovery to unveil a home that bridges time and transcends a typified response.

Austin Maynard creates a considered impression of discovery to unveil a home that bridges time and transcends a typified response.

Through a sense of enquiry and intrigue, Austin Maynard creates a considered impression of discovery to unveil a home that bridges time and transcends a typified response.

Built by Overend Constructions, with landscaping by Elarc and energy consulting by Efficient Energy Choices, RaeRae is a highly crafted machine, whose design is carved from its purpose. With each project, Austin Maynard aims to capture the essence of the client through a consultative approach, resulting in architecture that is as unique to its owners as it is curious about its architectural form and identity. After having lived in their home with the intent to renovate and extend, the owners were fortunate enough to be presented with the option of purchasing the neighbouring allotment, increasing their footprint. Within the dense inner-urban environment this opportunity to acquire two adjacent blocks is a rarity, and its potential needed to be maximised.

The built form hugs its southern boundary, providing an open and connecting backyard that embraces the northern light and, with operable façade elements, allows for passive ventilation.

Tucked behind the two frontages that had to be retained, a five-bedroom family home is unveiled, unfolding into its own mountain-scape silhouette. While playful and unexpected, the roof form not only references a typical residential vernacular but, more importantly, allows for maximised internal volume, responds to calculated functionality internally, and reduces overshadowing in specific locations. The built form also hugs its southern boundary, providing an open and connecting backyard that embraces the northern light and, with operable façade elements, allows for passive ventilation.

Tucked behind the two frontages that had to be retained, a five-bedroom family home is unveiled, unfolding into its own mountain-scape silhouette.

Together with Augie Interiors, Austin Maynard Architects has utilised a classic and muted palette to signify an enduring quality, with materials that will both prevail and age gracefully over time. The natural slate used on the roof will allow for a natural greening to occur and has a low embodied energy in both production and installation. The ability for slate to be recycled was also a consideration. Designed with intention, throughout, the home is sectioned to allow for alteration and amendment, in response to the owners and how they are using the home at any given time. Children’s areas are sectioned from the parent’s suite, and in future, the extent to the delineation can also be altered as needed.

RaeRae House is the result of a curious mindset and a rational, flexible and highly engineered brief, and is a at once a playful and functional home – a welcomed addition its inner-urban locale.

Published 23 January, 2020
Photography  Peter Bennetts
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