Adaptable terrace

Issue 28 Words: Emily Braham Photography: Emma Cross
Brunswick, Vic
  • Outdoors and indoors blend in this inner city terrace for broad appeal and adaptable living.
  • The sustainable terrace aims to suit multiple occupants over time with adaptable spaces.
  • The flexible first floor flows between two enclosed balconies offering private outside space.
  • The long narrow block and tall buildings to the north made solar access a challenge.

A terrace in Melbourne’s inner north makes use of passive design for universal living.

For Green Sheep Collective Director Shae Parker McCashen, flexibility is at the heart of creating sustainable, liveable homes for long-term benefit. So the brief for this Brunswick house made perfect sense: a sustainable terrace house with adaptable spaces to accommodate a range of lifestyles.

The terrace rises to two levels at its northern boundary, and it is the first floor that really demonstrates this flexibility. It flows from indoors to out with enclosed balconies either end of the interior, designed to suit varying requirements, serving as a generous third bedroom with ensuite and private outdoors area or an alternate living space.

The long narrow block and tall buildings to the north made solar access a challenge, but north-facing clerestory windows, which also help ventilate the house through the ‘stack effect’ thermal chimney, offered a solution. All occupants have also been impressed with the home’s winter warmth, retained with thermal mass and double glazing.

Designing homes that can readily adapt to multiple occupants over time is a key component of sustainable design, and an increasing concern for urban designers. However, designing with a life-cycle approach for broad appeal needn’t mean generic, as Shae explains, “Architects have a responsibility to create positive spaces that are light, relate to the outdoors, connect people to each other and that present a positive aspect to the street. So they are places people want to be in and that contribute to the community at large.”

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Cover of Issue 28
You can read more about Adaptable terrace in Issue 28 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Green Sheep Collective


Elyte Focus

Project type

New build

Project location

Brunswick, VIC


$420,000 (inc. professional fees)


House 135 sqm

Balconies 30 sqm

Land 200 sqm

Building Star Rating

5.4 Stars (pre May 2011, exceeded the 5 Star requirement of the time). Site orientation and the existing two storey building to the north made a higher rating difficult to achieve.

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