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From the architect:

Located in the vibrant back streets of Fitzroy, Melbourne, King Bill is the renovation and extension of a double storey terrace house and neighbouring garden. The house (one of five terraces built circa 1850) and its eastern garden were initially separate lots that were recently consolidated into a single title. Recognising the heritage significance of the area, as well as the rich eclectic nature of the location, the terrace fa├žade remains untouched. A glazed corridor now runs along the eastern outer wall of the original terrace, linking the original house with the stable (garage and parents retreat) and the new pavilion, which houses the kitchen, living and dining areas.

The brief

A family of four asked Austin Maynard Architects to design them their “forever house”. They asked for a renovation to their two storey terrace home, incorporating the empty garden site to the east and re-using the old stable building at the rear. Long time Fitzroy locals, the clients chose not to capitalise on their block by exploiting the vacant site. They wanted more living space but they had no intention of maximising the economic yields by creating a huge home. Instead they sought to give something back to the suburb they love through a rich and generous garden.

A house of contrasts

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At King Bill, Austin Maynard Architects set out to completely re-think the terrace house and the principles that created it. Typically you walk through the front door of a terrace, past two bedrooms to the kitchen/living area and small rear yard, which is usually overshadowed by the house itself. Austin Maynard Architects set aside these principles and looked at the house as empty spaces that needed new purpose. 

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Holes have been punched through the boundary wall on the east and the entrance has been moved to the side to become a light-filled corridor linking the old house with the stable and pavilion. With the entry moved, the original terrace entry porch is now a garden and the entry corridor is now a bathroom, which brings delight to the owners as they watch visitors scratch their head while they try to figure out how to find their way inside.

Surrounded by an established garden, the glass pavilion sits in stark contrast to the dark masonry walls of the robust two storey terraces either side. Retaining the existing trees was fundamental to creating a variety of spaces. The house and the structure was meticulously designed to ensure that the exisiting trees remained intact throughout construction.

Corrugated steel

The distinguishing and unifying feature of King Bill is the corrugated Colorbond steel metal cladding. Surfmist Custom Orb is used to define each of the additions - the stable building, the glass pavilion, and the bedroom pop out. The advantage of the profile is that it can be rolled to create sweeping curves and sun shading eyelids. The versatility of using the linear ribs vertically or horizontally allows the material to be used practically in different applications, to shade and guide rain water (the stable and pop out), or to create the curve of a building (the pavilion).

Sustainability features

  • The large garden increases the permeability of the site and also radically reduces heat sink in the area
  • The pavilion is set back to create a sunny northern garden and is a deliberately low structure allowing sunlight into the garden to the south of it and passive solar gain into the re-imagined ‘shed’ on the southern boundary
  • The northern facade of the shed has been rebuilt to create a smaller footprint
  • The new facade is clad in Surfmist Colorbond which significantly reflects heat
  • The wall is double stud and thermal broken with high performance insulation throughout
  • All new work aims to maximise available daylight and optimise passive solar gain in winter, while ensuring that summer sun does not hit the glass
  • With active management of shade and passive ventilation, demands on mechanical heating and cooling are drastically reduced
  • All roof water is captured and reused to flush toilets and water the garden
  • Solar panels with micro-inverters cover the old roof