The Corner House / Poly Studio

Architects: Poly Studio
Area: 240 m²
Year: 2016
Photography: Tatjana Plitt
Lead Architects: Daniel Wolkenberg
Builder: Markus Constructions
City: Melbourne
Country: Australia

The Corner House, a residential building designed by Poly Studio in Balaclava, Melbourne, transforms an Edwardian weatherboard house with a modern extension that complements and contrasts the original structure. Completed in 2016, the design uses Silvertop Ash timber and strategic cladding to highlight the relationship between old and new. The project incorporates passive design principles and optimizes space for a young family.

The corner house / poly studio

A key conceptual driver of the project was the relationship between the new and the old. The extension aimed to both complement and contrast the original house. The architects clad the extension in Silvertop Ash, an Australian hardwood timber, to complement the weatherboard cladding of the original house. The weatherboard was painted white, while the new cladding was stained black for contrast.

The corner house / poly studio

This project involved reconfiguring and extending an Edwardian weatherboard house in the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava to meet the evolving needs of a young family.

The corner house / poly studio

Located on a prominent corner within the neighborhood, the design leverages its multiple frontages and the condition of being experienced ‘in the round’ to animate and engage with the streetscape. The house’s organization is expressed in ‘black and white’ on the west elevation facing the side street, illustrating the relationship between new and old. The new extension is a deformed box, clad in timber and stained black, contrasting with the original white weatherboard Edwardian cottage at the front. A plywood canopy folds into the side of the original house to create a carport, linking the two main volumes of the house. The north façade features a pink fascia ribbon that frames the spaces within.

The massing of the extension responds to various parameters. Rather than a simple box at the back of the house, it seeks to complement the original by drawing on the form and geometry of the bay window and roof. The extension is lower on the south side to minimize its visual impact on the original house. The northern face is shaped to incorporate solar control, forming a self-shading facade without the need for applied sun shading.

The corner house / poly studio

The internal planning of the house is structured around separate zones. The original house at the front includes a parents’ zone with a master bedroom, WIR, en suite bathroom, and a study/home office. The ground floor of the extension includes a living and dining zone connected to the kitchen and laundry, oriented north and opening to the garden. The first floor of the extension houses the children’s bedrooms, which are oriented north and open onto a shared balcony overlooking the garden. Off-street parking is located within the footprint of the original house, creating an efficient floor plan that maximizes the size of the back garden.

The house incorporates passive design principles. Key rooms and spaces are oriented north with effective solar shading, minimizing windows facing east and west. Windows are strategically located to encourage cross-ventilation. Reverse brick veneer construction in the living space adds thermal mass to the house.

The corner house / poly studio
Project Galery
Project Location

Address: Balaclava, Melbourne, Victoria 3183, Australia

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