Best in Category - Architectural Design 2016

Acute House

OOF! architecture / OOF! in collaboration with JPILD / MItty & Price

Acute House is the transformation of a 'renovator's nightmare' into a compact 21st century family home.

The severe limitations of a tiny, very triangular site and the demanding heritage context have resulted in a pointy new wedge of house that is designed to exploit its ‘problem site’. This project demonstrates the possibility of achieving quality family housing in a compact but highly liveable form within extremely constrained sites.

View OOF Architecture website

Design Excellence

Small Scale Densification: As we search for ways to densify the city appropriately, it becomes increasingly important to realise the potential of even small underutilised sites in infrastructure and service-rich inner suburban areas. These remnant sites - often also in important heritage precincts - present particular challenges due to awkward geometry or other peculiarities.

This project demonstrates the role of good design in tackling a site conventionally dismissed as ‘too small’ or ‘too weird’ to be viable.

Design Impact

Small Footprint Living: Intensive and inventive design work was required to mine the space required for a family home from an undersized site (total area 48sqm) in an awkward triangular shape. The resulting house covers 100% of the site and provides a high quality and compact 3-storey, 3 bedroom family home distributed over 145sqm (inclusive of balcony and services areas as well as the walls of the house itself).

Split levels and the vertical space of the stairwell provide visual privacy as well as a sense of definition without wasting precious space on internal walls, corridors or doors.

Design Transformation

Re-calibration of Heritage Aims: The unusual nature of these sorts of sites render council’s standard heritage design techniques inapplicable and require a more site specific response. The willingness of the City of Port Phillip to discuss what their heritage policy hoped to achieve, and to negotiate a re-think - from first principles – on how this could be pursued on this site, was crucial to achieving the project. The resulting building is as familiar as it is new, with a beloved  neighbourhood landmark retained in its most visible form plus a 21st century family home where it was previously impossible.