Three Parts House, one part inspiration
Full of sustainable features, this home was transformed, retaining the front facade
It began as a 1950s clinker-brick house in an upscale Melbourne, Australia, neighbourhood.
It has been transformed into the uniquely designed — and named — Three Parts House, comprised of the Lantern, Brickhouse and Courtyard.
The Architects EAT team began with the existing two-storey portion of the home and named it the Lantern for its nighttime glow. It contains the master bedroom and ensuite, guest bedroom and formal living room on the first floor, with two more bedrooms, a rec room, bathroom and powder room on the second floor.
The newly-built Brickhouse is used for entertaining and opens to both outdoor areas.
The Courtyard connects the old building with the new, using a long corridor and a sewing room as part of the connection, and incorporates multiple layers of sliding doors and screens.
Totalling 5,600 square feet, the home took three years to design and build and includes sustainable features such as a 35,000-litre, in-ground rain water tank and back-to-grid solar panels. The home’s orientation and its courtyard provide natural light and cross-ventilation deep into the structure. Albert Mo, director at Architects EAT, answers a few questions about Three Parts House:
Why did you develop three different areas? The inspiration for the project to be in three parts wasn’t apparent at the beginning. We discussed at length with the owners the merit of retaining the front of the house, not only as a crucial contribution to the streetscape, but more importantly as the first principal of sustainability. Then to flood the interior with abundance of natural light, we chose to wrap the northern side of the house in U-profile Linit glass. The technology allowed us to span the entire two-storey structure height using a single piece of glass . . . More importantly, in the evening, this glass facade turns into a giant lantern.
The second part came into play when we thought about how to bring light and air deep inside the floor plate of the house. It was also about layering spaces, where the indoor and outdoor threshold blurred constantly, both visually and physically. The residents wanted to keep constant surveillance of their young kids . . . Hence, we provided them with a multi-layered sliding screen space, where they can adjust and modify the threshold depending on how they want to use the space.
The third part is the Brickhouse. There was an abundance of bricks left after the demolition, which we used to make up the western facade. Then we sourced terracotta bricks from Brisbane and built the remainder of the house.
What were the challenges? The client added the basement after we completed the initial working drawing package. It meant redesigning a fair amount of the back of the house, as well as adding vertical circulation and a ramp down to the basement level — and all to be in a meaningful way! It was exhausting.