Mid Century Homes

A Pavilion in the Trees

What happens when the owner of a beautiful 1950’s home wants to extend or update their home, without plonking a great big contemporary box on the back of it? (OR worse, bulldozing the existing home).

This spectacular, seamless addition to an existing mid-century house in Camberwell, by Melbourne firm AM Architecture, shows how it’s done, and done right!


Lucy Feagins

Camberwell home by AM Architecture. Looking along the boundary of the timber ‘pavilion’, flooded with natural light. Photo – Dianna Snape.

The fireplace swivels to face either the sitting area, the outdoor deck, or the dining table.  Photo – Dianna Snape.

The timber structure is braced with steel ties and steel fixings. Photo – Dianna Snape.

The kitchen is situated along one wall, under a low ceiling just outside the main volume, creating dynamic shifts in space. Photo – Dianna Snape.

The master en-suite functions are contained in a pod.  Photo – Dianna Snape.

Photo – Dianna Snape.

The building nestles in between two stately trees, and the high ceilings open the space up to draw them in. Photo – Dianna Snape.

Summer sun is screened by a generous roof overhang and a continuous external Venetian blind that wraps around the building, drawing on the buildings 50’s roots. Photo – Dianna Snape.

Lucy Feagins
29th of January 2018

For their Camberwell Project, Andrew Mellios, Director of AM Architecture, and his team were tasked with designing a new, separate wing to an existing 1950’s home, and to create a deeper connection between the home and its beautiful natural surrounds (the home overlooks a park). The resulting extension seamlessly integrates a new living space, master bedroom and ensuite, and connects to a new outdoor entertaining area.

‘The existing living areas were located at first floor, with nice views, but in total detachment of the outdoor space’ says Andrew. To resolve this problem, the architects introduced a new split level living space, maintaining views but joining the existing first floor to the outdoors.

The new wing, or ‘pavilion’, is nestled between two big trees, with sweeping 4.8 m ceilings! Designed to house a large family, this new living space offers direct access to the garden, and gently re-organises the home’s zoning, serving as a connection point between kids, parents, guests and living zones.

But there’s a lot more to this project than soaring ceilings and sweeping views. With such grand windows, it was imperative for the architects to design the new building with energy efficiency in mind.  To balance the large expanses of glass, high performance insulated glazing was used, whilst sun penetration is addressed with a generous eave around the new part of the home, and a continuous external venetian blind installed spanning the entire Northern side of the house, referencing the home’s 1950’s roots.

For Andrew and his team, this was a dream project. ‘The design process was a pleasure’  he says. ‘This project just flowed out of a combination of the clients brief, and a practical solution to the site, and I think we found some magic. It’s a simple but potent idea, on a beautiful site, resolved well’.

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