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Lai Cheong Brown


Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia

Architects in Charge

Rowan Brown, Christina Lai Cheong


209.0 m2

Project Year



Jaime Diaz-Berrio



Other Collaborators

BHS Consultants (Engineers), Floreancig Smith (Building Surveyors), Smart Building Concepts (Builder)
© Jaime Diaz-Berrio

From the architect. The project focused on the re-imagining of a solid brick Inter-war heritage home as both a downsize for a retiring couple and a multi-generational home for additional members of the family. The house also needed to accommodate the gatherings of a large family cohort, many of whom live only streets away.

© Jaime Diaz-Berrio

As a heritage controlled building, the design response needed to accommodate all of the expansion to the rear of the block. Externally the project repaired and refurbished the tiled roof, clinker brick façade and chimney while replacing original window joinery to a matched detail. New wrought iron gates were designed based on the motif of the original 1930’s ironwork.

© Jaime Diaz-Berrio
Floor Plan

The extension is completed in a mix of re-used and recycled clinker bricks with the new living space, topped by its lantern roof, differentiated in dark blue dry pressed brickwork.

© Jaime Diaz-Berrio
© Jaime Diaz-Berrio

Internally the house provides a new interior that blends retained and refurbished heritage details with contemporary elements.

The house accommodates both a retired couple and an adult family member in connected but separate accommodation. An integrated apartment with its own bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities is set within the house’s original master suite. The remaining sections of the house and a new extension accommodate the retired couple comfortably and with enough space to connect with the house’s other occupant and a host of nearby family when they choose to.

© Jaime Diaz-Berrio

 A full height walnut veneered hallway joins the original octagonal entry vestibule to the new clerestory topped open plan living and dining space, which centres the new home and provides a large light filled area to enjoy with extended family. A small snug off the main living spaces serves as a small intimate retreat for the couple day to day.

© Jaime Diaz-Berrio

Product Description. Timber was used throughout the project internally to add warmth and texture while drawing together the original heritage elements and more contemporary forms into a single cohesive design. As a central focal point of the project the clerestory exemplified this focus on timber with the use of pre-finished two tone Western Red Cedar lining boards, with a batten profile, helping to add both drama and warmth to this key space.

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