A Love Letter to Brunswick – Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects

Words by Millie Thwaites
Photography by Derek Swalwell
Interior Design by Austin Maynard Architects
Landscape Openwork
Terrace House By Austin Maynard Architects Issue 08 Feature The Local Project Image (57)

Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects is, in many ways, a love letter to Brunswick. Inspired by the terrace house typology of the area and designed and built for people who are drawn to this diverse pocket of Melbourne, the building is a meaningful offering to a thriving suburb with a rich history. What’s more, it’s a thought-provoking contribution to the changing landscape of medium density housing models, specifically those that prioritise environmental and social factors alongside great design.

Austin Maynard Architects never viewed this project as a collection of apartments, rather, as terrace houses stacked six storeys high. Situated on a long, thin block, there are 20 residences across a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes, the largest sitting at 130 square metres. Instead of generating an endless maze of tightly packed apartments with little outlook and natural light, the architects emulated the layout of traditional terrace homes. Each dwelling is large but not excessively so, and all residents enjoy generous outlooks, a front verandah, a study and and a big shared ‘backyard’ on the roof. These highly sustainable dwellings echo the experience of a terrace house, doing away with the maintenance demands and often poor thermal performance of a heritage building.

The design of the exterior borrows from the characterful façades along Sydney Road as well as the strong Mediterranean history of Brunswick and its neighbouring suburbs, yet it is confidently contemporary.

Each of these sustainably-driven dwellings benefits from generous outlooks, a front verandah, a study and a big shared ‘backyard’ on the roof.

The design of the exterior borrows from the characterful façades along Sydney Road as well as the strong Mediterranean history of Brunswick and its neighbouring suburbs, yet it is confidently contemporary. The architects have reinterpreted the heavy masonry arches typical to the area in light metal mesh with coloured outdoor blinds. Not only does this contribute to the project’s slightly playful identity but it ensures maximum access to natural light from within. It also acts as a framework for vegetation and greenery to grow upon, softening the form from the street and providing lush surrounds for residents.

This fossil-fuel-free building fills a much needed gap in the housing market for family homes that offer the sense of community and shared resources of apartment-style living. Difficulties in finding and securing cost effective yet liveable homes in the inner suburbs are forcing many first-time buyers into the outer suburbs. Terrace House aims to provide its residents with access to economically and socially sustainable housing, located in a desirable, bustling and connected pocket of Melbourne.

Austin Maynard Architects has considered what it means to live in a terrace house, extracted many of those highly appealing elements and wielded them to drive this design. This is a project that invites intrigue and encourages conversation in its mission to contribute to Brunswick with gusto.