The McPhail House employs a restrained and purposeful approach to discreetly introduce a recessive structure at the back of an already-existing heritage cottage. Architectural firm Design by AD takes inspiration from the original silhouette and materiality to craft a suitable extension that harmoniously blends in and remains unobtrusive towards the rear.
In preserving the overall streetscape and its placement amongst the other row houses, the addition is deliberately recessive, blackened to create a hierarchy from approach. As its own new form yet distinctly connected to the original, the modern elements make a statement of their own while still sitting modestly on site.
Located in Melbourne‘s Essendon suburb, and as the result of overcoming the existing scaled one-level weatherboard cottage form, the site becomes better activated, expanding the useable floor space notably. Using the existing slope of the roof as a guide, the extruded form is expanded to the rear, widening to make better use of the site.
A similar restraint and crafted approach are used throughout, binding the old and new together with similar materials and tones across both. A more contemporary interpretation of detailing and the handmade is expressed in the addition, where generous openings and glazing connect the interior to the surrounding landscape.
Together with landscape design by KPLA, McPhail House was built by Align Concepts and is intended to have both a soft and impacting affect. From within the original front rooms are retained in their scale, offering a place of retreat and formal separation. The newly opened combined living, dining and kitchen space then becomes the heart of the home. As its own gathering, nurturing and entertaining space, the openness created enhances the opportunity for connection, reinforced by the siting of the shared space
to the rear.
Pulled back from the street, and by drawing the main active areas of the home further into the site, a greater sense of separation and disconnect is created. Intended to age with grace, the palette used within repurposes the original weatherboard timber cladding as it wraps around the additional form, while inside a mix of timber, polished concrete flooring and a monochromatic base offer a sense of balance – awaiting the fluctuations of time, yet not bound to them.