This was a two townhouses development on a northern suburban Melbourne block, with north to the street frontage, and a 6 metre high factory wall all along the eastern boundary.
The brief called for the maximum retention of the front brick veneer house to reduce embodied energy and waste, and to create two high performing units that were light-filled and modern.
The challenge for good solar access was 2 fold. Firstly the factory wall cast long shadows over the block for half the day, and secondly, north to the front meant that the front townhouse would overshadow the rear if winter shadow lengths were not incorporated into the design from the outset.
The response was to put the living areas on the top floor, where solar access was less impeded, and to mimic the jigsaw roof profile of the neighbouring factory, facing north to harness light through clerestory windows and to slope the roof away to the south allowing the winter sun to have full access to the rear unit. Large upper entertaining balconies and decks with northern access provided extra outdoor space.
Photovoltaics on both units were given pride of place, making a statement to the street that they were proud to be green.
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