Project: Tess + JJ’s House
Architects: po-co Architecture
Location: South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia
Area: 1,259 sf
Photographs by: Tatjana Plitt
Tess + JJ’s House by po-co Architecture
Tess + JJ’s House, located in Melbourne’s South Yarra, is a small two-story house designed by po-co Architecture. The brief was to create a home that could accommodate a young family of four, without upsetting the heritage context of the neighborhood. The design’s façade reinterprets the single window and front door arrangement of its Victorian period-style neighbors, creating an illusion of an over-scaled single-story house, blending quietly with the character of the street.
The open and sunny living areas focus on the garden and sky, while the darker, compressed entry hallway leads to the contrastingly light-filled kitchen and dining area. The open plan living is complemented by two courtyards that provide garden aspects from all vantage points. Upstairs, the kids’ zone is designed to feel like a cubby with views of the grown-ups below. Overall, the design is compact and elegant, providing all the amenities needed for a young family without disturbing the surrounding environment.
Tess + JJ’s House is located on a small site in a heritage context in South Yarra, Melbourne. The brief was to create a new two-story house that wouldn’t upset the neighbors, on a small footprint with all the amenities needed for a young family of four.
The double story frontage reinterprets the single window and front door arrangement of its Victorian period-style neighbors. This illusion of an over-scaled single-story house sits quietly within the character of the street, despite the raised floor level required to satisfy the flood overlay requirements, and conceals the open and sunny living areas to the rear, which focuses its views towards the garden and sky.
The internal experience was the starting point for the project. A darker, compressed entry hallway leads to a contrasting light-filled kitchen and dining area – a generous and welcoming double height volume, central to the lives of a family who love to cook and entertain. With views to the sky to the east, a small deck, and garden and established birch trees to the north, it’s a space where family and friends can gather and feel distant from its urban context.
Counter to the lofty, upwards-focussed central volume, the family room to the rear directs its view downwards towards the pool, providing complete privacy from the apartment blocks beyond. The open plan living is fractured by two courtyards, which define the rooms and provides garden aspects from all vantage points. Upstairs, the kids’ zone was designed to feel like a cubby – with battened screens at either end of the shared play area for spying on the grown-ups below.