Walking past this home, in a street full of heritage terrace houses in Fitzroy North, Melbourne, you may not immediatel­y realize the building is new.

From the street, the crisp facade of what at first appears to be a historic worker’s cottage hints at the highly resolved architectu­re beyond the front door. This “door” however, is in fact a battened gate that deftly mediates between the public and private realms.

Behind the unusual entry, the main twostorey volume of the house sits between a verdant front courtyard and a rear outdoor living space. Crafted from concrete, glass and steel, this modernist structure is bathed in sunlight from two courtyards with orientatio­n to the east and west, and a quasi terrarium to the north. This clever siting, responding to the perils of the typical long, linear site with built-up boundaries, is sensitive to the street and the rear laneway.

With refined and contempora­ry detailing throughout, this is a skilful response to context that provides freedom within a relatively constraine­d site. It enables daily life and play in a village of sorts, highly connected to the outdoors.

From the Houses Awards jury.

For further coverage see Houses 134.

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