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Pinwheel House, North Carlton

Like a pinwheel, the different spaces and rooms of the house connect off a centre point – giving the house not a room, but a hub.

  • Client Brief

    In transforming their inner suburb terrace the clients asked two questions: how to address the lack of light and connection to open space so common in these houses, and how to find a way to get the city views, from the existing roof, through the restrictions of planning and into the new dwelling?

    Design Response

    The site had the advantage of having a lane on two sides, with the street effectively three points of entry, so it made sense to start at the middle and work out rather than arrange spaces from one end to the other.

    Like a pinwheel the different spaces and rooms of the house connect off this centre point. Towards the street are the children’s bedrooms, upwards, the master bedroom and ensuite, and outwards to a rear terrace.

    What results is a house where almost all its spaces have a direct connection or view to the outside: the project wraps the outside deep into the house.

    Perhaps the most surprising space of the new addition is the master bedroom. Perched in the middle of the site and along the party wall of the neighbouring house, it eschews overlooking restrictions, opening to the broad city views we once saw from the old rooftop.

  • Characteristics

    Key values

    • Outside drawn deep into the house, inside/outside intertwine
    • Project massing shaped to maintain northern light to rear courtyard
    • Master bedroom spaces occupy whole of first floor as a house within a house
    • Light court provides thermal chimney for natural ventilation

    Key materials

    • Hardies Scyon Matrix cladding,
    • Remilled blackbutt flooring
    • Fielders Shadowline profiled metal roofing and cladding
    • Tiger turf ‘Summer Envy’ synthetic grass
    • Sunplus evacuated tube solar hws
  • Specifications

    Core deliverables

    • Master bedroom with study, ensuite, walk-in-robe
    • Kitchen/lving/dining room
    • Guest/family room
    • Bathroom
    • Laundry
    • Courtyard and lightwell
    • External storage and storage attic

    Services provided

    • Concept design
    • Planning permit documentation
    • Contract documentation and building permit
    • Construction advice


    Antarctica (with Simon Whibley as co-director)


    Project Director: Simon Whibley
    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Sasha Hadjimouratis
    Photographer: Workshop Architecture

    Date completed

    Project in construction

    Location and area

    North Carlton, Victoria
    95m² addition ground floor, 35 m² addition first floor

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