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Enclave House in Melbourne by BKK Architects

By • Jul 9, 2011

Melbourne-based practice BKK architects has remodeled and extended an existing Edwardian house in Melbourne, Australia.

Completed in 2009, the 5,500 square foot residence now offers spacious living areas as well as a separate studio located in the rear of the narrow lot.

Enclave House by BKK Architects:

“The house is designed so that the spaces within and around the house will be adaptable over time to suit the changing needs of the family. The possibility for the studio space to be converted into an office has been considered as has the basement entertainment area conversion into a gym or multi-purpose play room. A central courtyard contains a pool and landscaped areas.

Site conditions

The existing Queen Anne residence is heritage listed and the site predominantly flat. There is access for car parking to the rear of the property.
Much of the work undertaken to the front face of the residence has been restoration work with a view to preserving the existing streetscape and elevation.


The environmental initiatives for the project can be summarized as follows;

  • There is a 25,000lt underground rain water harvesting tank.
  • Double glazed windows throughout.
  • Highly insulated walls floors and roof.
  • Locally resourced, sustainable, plantation timber cladding.
  • Materials that are low-maintenance with inherent finishes.
  • Low-VOC materials.
  • Highly water efficient fixtures and fittings.
  • The existing residence has been retained and restored.
  • The planning and construction is designed to be highly adaptable.

Design Concept

Formally, the extension at the rear of the existing residence is conceived through a subtractive approach that appears to have been carved from a solid block, chiseled away to cater to the planning/heritage overlays, whilst also drawing light back into the residence. Deep reveals form the windows to the upper floor to protect the gaze from the surrounding residences. An interior lightwell and water feature extend the garden space to the centre of the living spaces.

The garden has also been carefully crafted to create its own secret garden, complete with designer cubby house. There is an overwhelming sense of seclusion in both the house and garden that creates a type of space that is the family’s own, a retreat from busy lives and the surrounding chaos. The fabric of the building/s operates like a protective cocoon. The differing materiality of the two levels of the extensions creates the impression that the house has been capped or that a ‘helmet’ is placed upon the exterior walls.


As with all our projects, there is a close collaboration between all parties. The success of this project is testament to a close sharing of ideas between client and architect working with an extremely competent and engaged builder.”

Photos by: John Wheatley – UA Creative

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