Kaur House

I designed Kaur House in 2005 at the same time that I designed Vader house. Unlike Vader I was not involved in the selection of the builder nor its construction. From reports it appears that the build process was tumultuous (to say the least). After sitting half built and abandoned, a new builder bravely purchased and completed Kaur House. Though there are a number of changes to the original design, Kaur house has been completed very well.

The site was once the backyard of a Napier street address. As blocks subdivide and Fitzroy increases in density, homes and their internal spaces are becoming smaller and darker. The goal at Kaur was to create a house who’s internal spaces defied logic without generating a huge, dominating external mass. Where in Fitzroy do we find a new home with a 3 storey light filled living space while still including 3 sizeable bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a double garage? Kaur is much like the tardis, small on the outside, yet huge on the inside.

Rather than retreating from the lane way Kaur house opens up and engages with Fitzroy without occupants feeling exposed or watched. Throughout the house there are strategic views over Fitzroy to the north and towards the city to the south with the spire of the cathedral looming in the foreground. The cobblestones, the brick and the tin of Fitzroy are backdrops to the abundance of natural light.

From 2006...

A new house for a sub-divided backyard block in inner-city Melbourne, the design is an innovative solution to a tight block and stringent heritage requirements.

Stepping the external form back in line with the legislated set-backs created a sculptural interior space which is decidedly non-domestic in scale. Pushing all services against the southern boundary created a light-filled internal void with a volume rarely achieved in the inner city. Bedrooms and bathroom spaces are screened from the larger area through sliding joinery, allowing them to be opened to the void when desired.

The project travelled through VCAT appeals unscathed, satisfying the tribunal that the design was a wonderful response to the historic, eclectic laneway context. The arbitrary material controls imposed by council were also avoided; it was successfully argued that the building represented a much more respectful response to the contextual materiality, while avoiding the heavy massing specified by default.


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