Haines House by Foomann Architects in Melbourne, Australia

Project: Haines House
Architects: Foomann Architects
Melbourne, Australia
Area: 1,076 sf
Year: 2022
Photographs by:
Willem Dirk Du Toit

Haines House by Foomann Architects

Introducing the Haines House, a stunning family home located in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. The original 1970s design has been transformed by Foomann Architects to create a functional and light-filled space that is perfect for modern living. The renovation was driven by the owner’s need to accommodate a growing family, and the addition of a new level has increased the floor space from 80 to 100 square meters.

The materials and design have been thoughtfully chosen to create a cohesive space that transitions seamlessly from the ground floor to the rooftop deck. The use of thermally modified timber on the new storey adds to the minimalistic and enigmatic aesthetic of the property. Not only is the design visually stunning, but it is also environmentally conscious. The project has been assessed as carbon neutral, making it a beautiful and sustainable place to call home.

Haines Street, the family home of Foomann director Jamie, has evolved with his growing family while being respectful of its 1970s origins. Jamie first renovated the house in 2013 to update the fences, gardens, and interior, consolidating rooms to create larger, more functional, and lighter spaces. Now with two young children, Jamie has added another level, accommodating a third bedroom, second bathroom, and rooftop deck, allowing the family to stay in the house long-term. As a student, Jamie worked for Mike Morris, a director of Morris Pirrotta Architects, who designed the original North Melbourne house in 1970. In this way, the alteration feels collaborative despite the half-century, as Foomann approaches architecture in a similar modernist spirit.

The best way to extend was up given the site constraints, with a new level increasing the floor space from 80 to 100 square meters. (Note that the average size of a newly built home in Australia, since 2019, is three bedrooms and 235.8 square meters). The materials become lighter and the design more pared back as the spaces ascend, offering a different feel and energy from the ground to the top floor. The central circulation through the split levels facilitates a gradual transition, as does the subtle pairing and blurring of the old and new materials. The renovation takes ownership of the house, but the 1970s roots provide a visible framework.

At the entry-level, new wood-wool panels amid the existing timber beams provide acoustic attenuation between levels while steel joinery conceals lighting. The sunken kitchen and dining room, now consolidated into one space, are grounded with new bluestone floors and a large custom table by long-time collaborator Kyran Starcevich. The split second level contains two bedrooms and a bathroom, with the new split third level containing the main bedroom, bathroom, and a rooftop deck with an outdoor bath.

Haines is tall and visually prominent from all sides. The new storey is clad in thermally modified timber finished with a protective coating that accelerates the silvering process. The new level is intended to be enigmatic. The minimalistic form and detailing conceal the complexity of the stepped addition as well as solar panels and other equipment. The rooftop deck faces the street but is a private space open to the sky and stars, creating a surprise for visitors.

This project is assessed as carbon neutral by Pangolin Associates. Emissions from embodied energy (materials, products, and construction) have been fully offset, and the projected emissions through the use of the home (full life cycle) are forecast to be more than offset by the solar array. The compact scale of Haines and particularly the new bedroom, bathroom and deck is an asset through attention to proportion and orientation. Light-filled, airy and functional, these spaces feel better to occupy as a result of being designed at a size to suit the purpose.

Foomann Architects


Tags: Australia, exterior, Foomann Architects, home, house, interior, Melbourne

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