on the vibrant back streets of fitzroy, melbourne, austin maynard architects has designed ‘king bill’ — a playful renovation and extension of a double-story terrace house and neighboring garden. the original house is among the oldest in the australian suburb, built around 1850. after its 2018 update, it’s now also one of the most inventive.
UPDATE: this project was shortlisted in the ‘house – completed buildings’ category at the 2018 world architecture festival.
all images by derek swalwell
the house and empty lot were both acquired by the owners of ‘king bill’ to have enough space for their vision. austin maynard architects designed this project for a family of four, who were so enchanted by the colorful neighborhood that they commissioned this as their ‘forever house.’ specifically, they wanted to both expand the house while simultaneously giving ‘something back to the suburb they love through a rich and generous garden.’
the architects describe ‘king bill’ as ‘a collage of fitzroy’s built history, its textures, its forms, its order and its chaos.’ fitzroy, a suburb of melbourne, has long been known as a bohemian destination. in many ways the area’s electric and diverse architectural styles reflect its prevalent counterculture. therefore, it made perfect sense for the architecture to channel this eclecticism in ‘king bill.’
each angle makes the project look like a different house. the firm is known for their tendency to create a wide variety of different spaces, thus providing options to the inhabitants;
their needs and moods require different environments, such as a hideaway, ideal for reading, or a light filled garden to catch up with friends. the design tries to accommodate all these options with its versatility.
the layout of the house can be described as meandering, with plenty of twisty paths and unexpected turns. the architects subvert our expectation of how to move through space.
furthermore, the garden’s openness to the community democratizes the home, while still maintaining a sense of privacy. it offers back its beauty and a green space to all those who live in the neighborhood.