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South Yarra House in Melbourne, Australia by Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD)

Designed by Melbourne-based architecture firm Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD), South Yarra House is a single-family home that is located in South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia.

Project description by architect:

South Yarra House is designed according to five design principles while also conceiving complex site constraints. The studio's investigations on design are shaped through environmentally sustainable design solutions. KUD Architects focuses on five key areas in this residential house; site context, vehicle access and parking, solar orientation, landscaping and views.

house entrance with stepped staircase and a tree in front image © Billy Kavellaris

The site is located in a narrow street without any definitive architectural character which enjoys an eclectic range of house typologies ranging from post war cottages, large brick 50’s deco houses and a plethora of newly constructed attached town houses and houses. The small allotments have forced increased densities in the area and as a result any new construction to new houses or extensions have been forced to the title boundaries in order to maximise the site envelopes.

Architectural Plans Plans

Architectural section drawings Sections

A 3m lane way to the east divides the subject site and the three extruded boxes like double storey’s dwellings all of which are built to the boundary. The western interface has a very large second storey addition to an Edwardian weather board home that dominates the subject site. The architects' response was to match the built form and scale of the new house with a view to keep the geometry simple and proportional.

black staircase at the entrance glass door image © Billy Kavellaris

The most significant site constraint for the scheme was that a less than 9m street frontage prohibited vehicle access from the street. This forced the garage to the centre of the site off the lane’s way. The studio utilized the access/egress space as an opportunity to create a de facto courtyard/light well and thereby resulting in northern solar orientation to all habitable spaces.

modern staircase design image © Billy Kavellaris

The use of a car turn table not only assisted in easier access and egress, but also provided the client with a third car space. The innovative design strategy provided a multi layered solutions to the reoccurring urban problem for vehicle/parking accessing to small sites.

Having every habitable room in the house facing north was critical to the design in order to maximize environmentally sustainable efficiencies and light fill spaces without relying on east/west windows and borrowed light. The light well to the garage was a key programmatic strategy to reinforcing the idea that constraint forces innovative design solutions through the problem-solving process.

cozy living room with TV and comfortable sofa image © Billy Kavellaris

The project incorporates unconventional methods of landscaping and the role that they play in the design. Urban house typologies such as this one generally has limited opportunities to landscape and are generally located in the rear open space.

house with central courtyard and indoor garden image © Billy Kavellaris

Architects wanted to remove this limitation and provide a green vista from as many spaces as possible. The problem was that the car turntable in the courtyard removed the capacity to landscape at ground level. KUD's solution was to create a ‘Sky Garden’ above the courtyard which provided shading and an interesting juxtaposition between the building and the organic greenery.

house with illumination at night image © Billy Kavellaris

KUD's objective was to internalize and structure views from inside to outside and from one space to the other. Strategically placing windows throughout the house enabled us maintain privacy and surveillance from the front of the house right through to the back.

kitchen island made with white marble stone image © Billy Kavellaris

More importantly the overlapping spaces captured vistas to key areas such as the sky garden. Incorporating a strip window at ground level in the lounge also enabled us to minimize south facing glazing and remove a high fence to the front for privacy.

modern kitchen design with marble stone island image © Billy Kavellaris

staircase design image © Billy Kavellaris

staircase steps image © Billy Kavellaris

corridor with parquet floor image © Billy Kavellaris

bathroom washing basin made of ceramic image © Billy Kavellaris

house with illumination at night and small surrounded garden image © Billy Kavellaris


Architecture firm: Kavellaris Urban Design

Location: South Yarra, MelbourneAustralia

Photography: Billy Kavellaris

Project name: South Yarra House

Principal architect: Billy Kavellaris

Design team: Billy Kavellaris

Interior design: Billy Kavellaris

Design year: 2014

Completion year: 2015

Site area: 220 m²

Landscape: James Dawson Design

Structural engineer: Vayco Structures

Lighting: Billy Kavellaris

Construction: Pascon Group

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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