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Clifton Hill House by Nic Owen Architects

By Magaly Grosso


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Clifton Hill House was designed by Nic Owen Architects in 2011.

It is located in Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia, and covers an area of 2100 square feet.

Clifton Hill House by Nic Owen Architects:

“A creative combination of an inner city Victorian cottage of heritage significance with contemporary design and sustainable building practice is the result of a successful collaboration between client, architect and builder.

The brief aimed to preserve and restore the rundown Victorian to its former glory whilst creating a contemporary addition that inspired a creative life for a 21st Century family.

Conceptual Framework

Architecture is about designing and creating spaces for people to live an enhanced aesthetic life. This is accomplished through an efficient and functional arrangement of space and utilities while encouraging an expressive and creative lifestyle. The main objective with the Clifton Hill House was to create a home that both shelters and enhances the daily living of the clients for now and generations to come.

The primary function of providing shelter to a family of four that embraces and respects the environment while protecting and sheltering the clients from the harsh elements has resulted in a building that can honestly call itself “green”. The house has been designed to efficiently use valuable resources such as water and energy by employing the following strategies;

– A 20,000 underground water tank has been installed to allow for water catchment which is used for gardening, laundry and toilet flushing
– Solar heat minimization through static & retractable sun canopies
– Paint – “Cool Colour” paint technology by “Resene” used to reflect the suns heat
– Renewable timber
– High rated insulation

The Clifton Hill house is a good example of sustainable design as it has;

– Reduced operating costs by increasing productivity and using less energy and water,
– Improved client lifestyle due to improved indoor air quality through cross-ventilation
– Reduced environmental impacts by, for example, lessening storm water runoff and the solar heat gain.
– Relationship of built form to context

The timber Victorian cottage is sited on a corner block with a north facing backyard. The site is in a heritage overlay which protects the original cottage. The alterations and additions have aimed to respect and preserve the original building while creating a contemporary piece of architecture that enhances the historically significant cottage.

This has been done by:

– Retaining the original Victorian elements of the two front rooms and roof line and reinstating period features as required
– Creating a traditional stable form at the rear of the cottage in a contemporary manner
– Clearly distinguishing between the original and “new” addition with contrasting forms, colours and materials internally and externally.

Cost/Value Outcome

The timeless modern extension is rooted in practicality with the client enjoying an uplifting and inspiring new environment which incorporates a long list of cost saving features within the overall design.

The successful collaboration between the client, architect and builder has resulted in a project that is a source of pleasure for the client and pride for both the builder and architect. The architects passionate vision and drive throughout the project has resulted in a building that marries artistic design with function, satisfying the client’s brief and the architect’s creative dreams.”

First Level
Second Level
Site Plan

Photos by: Rhiannon Slatter

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About Magaly Grosso

Magaly Grosso was born in Venezuela where she grew up and studied Advertising and Marketing. With time, she realized that what she truly wanted to dedicate herself to was Interior Design, which is why she decided to study it and devote herself to it. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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