Perf Pad, A House With Dimples

It isn’t often that ‘punctured’ is used as a positive description in architecture, but Northbourne Architecture + Design have used perforation to great effect in South Yarra, creating an illuminating skin which breathes life into a contemporary family home.

‘Perf Pad’s’ dimpled façade makes a bold, creative claim to space, enacting Leonard Cohen’s famous maxim, that the cracks are ‘how the light gets in’ .

We talk with architect Sally Holbrook about this perforated perfection.

Lucy Feagins

‘The building sits comfortably nestled in a row of townhouses in a gritty inner-urban street. The expressed horizontal datum lines of the house tie in with those of its neighbours.’  Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘The new bright white perforated metal façade is a glowing glimmer of hope.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

This house takes a ‘less but better’ approach. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘Purposeful design minimises the need for ‘things’, reducing clutter, creating calm, allowing more time to focus on one another as a family or with guests.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘Inbuilt flexibility and functionality means the inhabitants can stay put to reap the benefits of an engaging location and thoughtful, tailored home design.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Sally Holbrook’s design approach is to balance grand flourishes with minimalism. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘To create that perfect winter temperature and atmosphere, a new fireplace and hydronic heating were installed.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘We know an inclusive partnership is the key ingredient for a successful project. We identify our clients’ requirements, inspirations and aspirations.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘The master suite’s improved layout immerses the inhabitants into the treetops, connecting them to nature, yet providing privacy from the street.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Rupture and light. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

NORTHBOURNE is a Melbourne based architecture and interior design team committed to shaping a better world through progressive and practical design.
Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

‘New full-height double glazed doors and windows allow sunlight to permeate the interiors, whilst the overhanging balcony and canopy provide appropriate shade protection from the elements during summer whilst providing dappled sunlight year-round.’  Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Blue hues in this light filled room! Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

This house aims to enhance the daily pleasures of life. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Lucy Feagins
19th of April 2018

Sally Holbrook is an architect undeterred by a challenge (!), and inspired by progressive and practical design.

She talks with us about the evolution of ‘Perf Pad’, empowering women in the fields of architecture and construction, and her approach for designing buildings with ‘function and heart.’

Can you tell us a little about NORTHBOURNE Architecture + Design, and your professional practice?

I established Northbourne Architecture + Design in 2014, inspired after working in an all-female architecture practice. I am interested in the development and promotion of women in the architecture and construction industry, and innovative and sustainable architecture. I am super passionate about interior design – how interiors speak to, and build upon, the shape of the building.

How did you approach the design for the ‘Perf Pad’?

Our focus was on quality, not quantity – our approach was to achieve more with less.

A functional, flexible, light-filled home suitable for both budget and requirements of a growing family was achieved with just a small first-floor addition and simple, yet carefully crafted re-plan of the existing home and outdoor space. The perforated exterior skin softly envelops the home, washing the spaces and inhabitants with a rhythmic dappled sunlight.

And what was the most challenging aspect of the project?

One of the important design strategies was to create a sense of privacy without severing access to sunlight. Perforated metal cladding was used to achieve this, however, due to the nature of a renovation, where exact dimensions do not exist, the rhythm of the perforations and the continuous materiality was exceptionally difficult to achieve – but definitely worth it in the end.

What have you enjoyed most about this project?

Encouraging our client to reduce the scope of work and to take a ‘less but better’ approach was not only a fiscally rewarding outcome for the clients, it meant greater consideration and care could be applied to a smaller area, to make the project work more efficiently and effectively. We found this to be a very rewarding and satisfying outcome indeed, and the clients are super happy too, it’s a win win!


Recent Architecture