Project: Terrace House
Architects: Austin Maynard Architects
Project Team : Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin, Mark Stranan
Builder: Kapitol Group
Project Managers: Armitage Jones
Location: Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia
Area: 3225 m²
Photo Credits: Derek Swalwell, Maitreya Chandorkar
Terrace House is the result of past Austin Maynard Architects clients, staff and allies putting their own money at risk to create community-focused homes that are equitable, ethical, cost-effective, robust and resilient in the face of the growing climate crisis. Amongst our incredible investors, who risked so much, are past clients at Union House, Grant House, Mills: The Toy Management House, Mash House, Sproule House and Walker House. Also the patriarch of Melbourne architecture Emeritus Professor Leon Van Schaik supported and helped fund Terrace House as did fellow architects Scale Architecture, Phooey Architects and more. All of them champions of ethical housing who have been incredible supporters of Austin Maynard Architects in the past and whom we look forward to sharing future adventures with.
“One of us is a public servant, the other is a school teacher. In our income bracket options for home ownership are limited to cookie-cutter suburban sprawl with a lengthy commute to work (likely requiring a car), or an inner city shoebox not suited to raising small children. We would certainly never be able to afford an architect-designed new build, let alone one in Brunswick. Terrace House has given us peace of mind that we can live car-free and carefree in a 20 minute neighbourhood, walking distance to all the amenities we need, and that we will be able to raise our children in a stable community of owner-occupiers that like us values equitable outcomes, environmental sustainability and great design.” – Paula, resident of Terrace House.
“This building is the future, setting the tone for what is possible; to see how good it is to live a bit more simply and more sustainably, in a very tight knit community, in an area where everything you need is within walking distance. It’s a great place to be and everyone is so warm and open and equally happy to be here. It’s a perfect home.” – Griff, Director Hermann Studios and resident of Terrace House.
Terrace House is an ethical, beautifully-designed, highly sustainable and 100% fossil fuel free building in Melbourne, comprising twenty (2 & 3 bedroom) residences, with 55 bike parks and three commercial spaces at ground level. Austin Maynard Architect’s first multi-residential project as both architect and developer, Terrace House takes a revolutionary approach to housing and delivers quality apartments that are environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.
Terrace House, is the re-imagining of a former inner-city suburban life, where rows of workers cottages generated and nurtured close community. Street parties, shared childminding, communal gardens, neighbourly lending and borrowing, conversations over the washing line and unlocked front doors – these ideals are the basis of Terrace House. These are not apartments, these are homes – terrace houses stacked six storeys high.
Brunswick is a wonderfully diverse suburb, with residents from a range of different socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity and lifestyles. Issues of equality, sustainability, the arts and ethics are high priorities of many locals. The majority of Terrace House purchasers are Brunswick residents and many are renters in the area who have been unable to find suitable or affordable options to purchase. They already have an established social network here, but cost issues are forcing many to relocate to the outer suburbs, further from the city, from their familiar neighbourhood and infrastructure. Terrace House fills the gap in the market and maintains the spirit of community.
Terrace House borrows from the plethora of unique arches of various types and epochs along Sydney Road, in a respectful and playful way. We studied these facades and have created a modern interpretation of the context, yet using light, utilitarian materials on the eastern and western facades that reflect Brunswick’s industrial past. Although we are very fond of the masonry arch balconies of neighbouring buildings, the lack of natural light provides poor amenity to the inhabitants, compared to the metal mesh and gardens established at Terrace House.
Undertaking yet another thoughtless, boxy development is exactly what Brunswick does not need. Neither does it call for a direct copy of heritage structures. Instead we have designed a green lung that borrows the forms and rhythms of the area. The utilitarian concrete and metal mesh provide the backdrop for substantial gardens on the east and west facade, and elegant, simple graphics of the North and South facades. The balustrading is simple vertical posts, which ensure that the balconies are not scalable by youngsters whilst providing abundant light to the inhabitants.
Our vision is that Terrace House will become a vertical community garden within a masonry context. Our aim is to provide a tall garden full of life.
An urban response to transit and parking
As determined by the transport plan, increased car usage on the street at the rear of Terrace House (Saxon Street) should be discouraged. A relatively narrow, ‘no-through’ road with a pedestrian park at the end, meant it could not effectively tolerate car usage. In fact, increased car activity would not only be an ineffective transport outcome, it would be to the detriment of the area. Saxon Street is an important public space and artery to public infrastructure, such as the school, the swimming baths, the train station, bike path, library, council building and other services, all tightly packed in this unique public realm. Furthermore the purchasers of Terrace House articulated a commitment to sustainable transport options and most have a history of non-car usage. With a reliable public transport system, car sharing on their doorstep, and with 55 secure bike-parks inside, the by design “no car no garage” urban response to transit and parking is the ideal solution for the residents of Terrace House, and importantly for the broader community.
“Over its life span this building will emit -7000 tCO2eq less than average or standard buildings providing the same functionality. This is equivalent to:
– 42,000 trees planted
– 1842 cars taken off the road for a year
– 932 zero energy Australian homes for a year
– 203,855,455 balloons of CO2 gas removed from the atmosphere” From Hip V Hype 120 year life cycle assessment 2021.
Terrace House addresses 10 key Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD) categories in design and operations. This building is a house that will have reduced environmental impacts in the long term and will offer residents comfortable living conditions and reduced running costs.
1. Indoor Environment Quality
2. Energy Efficiency
3. Water Efficiency
4. Stormwater Management
5. Building Materials
7. Waste Management
8. Urban Ecology