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Diagonal House, North Fitzroy

Innovative add-on opens like a fan towards sun drenched north-facing rear courtyard.

  • Client Brief

    The key client requests were for sunlight and connection to the rear courtyard – two things the clients’ current dwelling lacked. Thankfully, a series of awkward and inherited alterations had left the front four rooms of the house intact. How then to add new bedrooms, living and working spaces for a growing family, and open all of these to light and the outside?

    Design Response

    The addition opens like a fan towards the rear courtyard; living, dining and kitchen spaces arranged upon a diagonal line laid across the site, connected to Northern sun.

    Between these spaces, bedrooms, a bathroom and a study run along the long axis of the site, like parts of the existing house staggered along the site’s length.

    In combination, the dynamic living spaces of the house are framed by these more contained private areas. The bedrooms and bathroom retain a private aspect to outdoor garden areas, while the living, kitchen and dining spaces flow through the dwelling from the large rear courtyard to a smaller one between the old and new parts of the house.

    The roof folds across the site; rising towards the north, and lowering to the bedroom areas on each side, allowing a large – and rescode compliant – living space. Clad in timber, its lightness is collaged with the solidity of the recycled brickwork used for the bedrooms.

    The design is based on principles of passive heating and cooling: maximising exposure to controlled northern light, and using cross ventilation in combination with a sheltered pond.

  • Characteristics

    Key values

    • Combinations of solidity and lightness, enclosure and airiness
    • Adaptable spaces connect to the outside
    • Maximised exposure to controlled northern light
    • Natural ventilation
    • Use of recycled and ethically sourced timber

    Key materials

    • Southern Spotted FSC certified timber cladding,
    • Remilled Recycled Grey Ironbark and Blackbutt flooring
    • Fielders Shadowline profiled metal roofing and cladding
    • Brickwork recycled from site
    • Evacuated tube solar hws
  • Specifications

    Core deliverables

    • Bedrooms x 2
    • Study
    • Living and dining
    • Kitchen
    • Bathrooms x 2
    • Laundry
    • Guest/Family room
    • Storage attic and shed
    • Master bedroom terrace

    Services provided

    • Full Services


    Antarctica (with Simon Whibley as co-director)


    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Sasha Hadjimouratis, Aaron Robinson
    Photographer: Peter Bennetts

    Date completed


    Location and area

    North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

    140m² addition

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