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Michael McKenna - Works


This project is a single family townhouse on a micro site (106 sqm) in a Hawthorn laneway. The house is part of an infill development of row houses replacing a demolished warehouse. The adjoining urban area (Church Street) is mixed use with both office and residential uses. The design of this house challenges attitudes to height and density in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

The house is expressed as an individual entity in the laneway with a contrasting design to the adjoining townhouses. Organised over four levels the house has stratified functional zones, ground floor garage, first floor living, kitchen, terraces, second floor bedrooms and a top floor family area with terraces that take full advantage of distant vistas to the Kew hill.

The vertical organisation of the house emphasises natural light with a mixture of open and enclosed spaces. A light shaft links the main living level and top floor.

The interior has a modern sensibility with off white painted plaster walls and ceilings, set against sisal wool carpet and timber floors. Wet area detailing is simple yet elegant with tiled walls and floors, with minimal joinery.

The façade to Simpson Place has a tri-parti composition with a modernist sensibility in wood. Timber is used for both in structure and finish and was a key strategy for delivering the house within budget and well crafted carpenter’s detailing prevails.

The kids love the vertical nature of the house when the family moved in young Kate thought it was a bit like the faraway tree, there’s something different on each level and at the top are the clouds.

Stage: Construction complete.

Timeline: 2003-05