This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Architecture

By 2050, Melbourne will have a population of 8 million – doubling in just 40 years.

‘It is a fact that Melbourne has an oversupply of smaller studio apartments, driven by the international investment market’, Matt Gibson of Matt GibsonArchitecture + Design (MGAD) explains, ‘and on the flip side, a shortage of quality family housing’.

When the clients of this home – the builder and interior designer team behind DDB Design – approached Matt about building a family home on a narrow site, all parties involved saw the opportunity to create a unique, long-term solution for multigenerational living.

16th July, 2019

‘Mixed Use Home’ by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design and DDB Design. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

The stacked home is divided into ‘zones’ that include communal living, personal and retreat. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

Access to views was a key consideration in the design process. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

The Mixed Use House comprises 10 stacked zinc boxes. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

The home accommodates multiple generations of the same family. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

A central vertical atrium provides ample daylight internally. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

The clients were a forward-thinking builder and an interior designer with the future in mind. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

A bedroom, looking out over the treetops. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

A bedroom, looking out over the treetops. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

Each bedroom has its own ensuite and feels more like self-contained studios. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

Designer details. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

The stacked home accommodates the clients, their adult children, and a young daughter. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

Going upwards was the only solution on this narrow, awkward site. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

In keeping with zoning requirements, the ground level of the site is used for commercial purposes. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 16th July 2019

‘Multi-generational living is becoming more prevalent in Australia, driven partly by the housing affordability crisis but also because it offers convenience, better amenity & keeps costs low through shared resource and family support’. – Matt Gibson.

‘Multi-generational living is becoming more prevalent in Australia, driven partly by the housing affordability crisis, but also because it offers convenience, better amenity and keeps costs low through shared resource and family support’, Matt Gibson of Matt Gibson Architecture and Design explains.

Opposite a freeway at one end, and residential housing at the other, this tricky site was to be a home for a couple (a property industry professional and an interior designer, who run DDB Design) to live in alongside their adult children, their partners, and a young daughter. Located in St Kilda on a strip zoned for business, the design solution needed to accommodate the large family, as well as plenty of space for extended family and friends, whilst also meeting the zoning requirements.

The clients saw this an opportunity to ‘embrace inner city living and challenge the traditional “quarter acre block” housing typology in Australia’ architect Matt Gibson explains. He and his clients went upward on the awkward, challenging site, leaving the ground floor open to commercial use, as per regulations, and creating linked, stacked residences for the family. The southern façade facing the residential area divides into ten zinc-clad boxes set back at varying intervals.

Three clear zones make up the residential spaces – communal (living level), personal (bedroom levels), and retreat (access to views and private open space). ‘Each bedroom features its own bathroom and breakout space and in many ways feel like individual self-contained studios’, Matt tells. ‘Ensuite services are stacked, taking a multi-residential approach with a view to possible future use.’ A large, vertical central atrium allows for ample natural light to radiate through the various rooms and residences, creating unique moments of beauty unexpected in apartment-style living.

With the reality of massive population increase upon us, and house prices unattainable for many, it’s so important we are reconsidering what is both achievable and desirable for long-term housing solutions. This Mixed Use House is similar in size to the neighbouring terrace houses, while only using a fraction of the land mass to house multiple people. It’s inspiring to see architects like Matt Gibson and industry professionals DDB Design collaborating to come up with alternatives for medium-density accommodation that doesn’t compromise on quality of life, and takes a holistic approach to more sustainable long-term future living!

This Week

News

The Very Best In First Nations Fashion Design!

The National Indigenous Fashion Awards were held on Larrakia Country (Darwin), recognising First Nations artists + designers across six cate...
Sasha Gattermayr
  17 hours ago

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li

Shopping

The Latest Collection From North Is A Total Dream

Created in collaboration with artists from Marrawuddi Arts and Culture and Injalak Arts, 'Stone Country Collection' is a celebration of the
Sally Tabart
  11 hours ago

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Homes

An 1870s Church Turned Stylist’s Family Home!

Stylist at Read&Hall Sarah Fairhead Hall and husband Adam converted an 1870s church in Willunga, South Australia into their family home!
Lucy Feagins
  20 hours ago

Food

Julia's Strawberry Crumble Cake

A golden, nutty butter cake with crunchy oat topping and a layer of spiced strawberry, from food columnist Julia Busuttil Nishimura.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

On The Market

A Rammed Earth Masterpiece With Sweeping Mountain Views

Rarely are the stunning architectural homes we feature for sale... but this jaw-dropping Peter Stutchbury Architecture-designed home is!
Marcus Lloyd-Jones

Architecture

A Minimalist Home Where The Landscape Takes Centre Stage

This Mount Mellum, Queensland home by Sparks Architects is all about its incredible views, taking in the ocean and D'Aguilar Range!

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!
02:27

Travel

A Perfect Day in Daylesford & The Macedon Ranges, With Paul Bangay

Lucy joins legendary landscape designer Paul Bangay for a dreamy day trip in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, capturing the best that the

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Interiors

A Sydney-Meets-Melbourne Family Terrace

Full of Grace Interiors bring Melbourne design influences to this breezy Sydney home.

Architecture

A 90m² Inner-Suburban Block Turned Multipurpose Family Home!

MRTN Architects have designed family home, office, and granny flat on a mere 90m² Brunswick East block!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

An Off-The-Plan Family Apartment Unlike Any Other

The incredible apartment of Pino Demaio and Alpha60's Georgie Cleary, in a community-minded development in Clifton Hill.

Architecture

A Beautiful, Sustainable Home On A Surprisingly Small Footprint

A minimalist, eco-conscious three bedroom home in Cape Paterson, by The Sociable Weaver.
Miriam McGarry

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

This Week

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

Homes

An 1870s Church Turned Stylist’s Family Home!

Stylist at Read&Hall Sarah Fairhead Hall and husband Adam converted an 1870s church in Willunga, South Australia into their family home!
Lucy Feagins
  20 hours ago

Architecture

A Minimalist Home Where The Landscape Takes Centre Stage

This Mount Mellum, Queensland home by Sparks Architects is all about its incredible views, taking in the ocean and D'Aguilar Range!

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Food

Julia's Strawberry Crumble Cake

A golden, nutty butter cake with crunchy oat topping and a layer of spiced strawberry, from food columnist Julia Busuttil Nishimura.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

On The Market

A Rammed Earth Masterpiece With Sweeping Mountain Views

Rarely are the stunning architectural homes we feature for sale... but this jaw-dropping Peter Stutchbury Architecture-designed home is!
Marcus Lloyd-Jones

Interiors

A Sydney-Meets-Melbourne Family Terrace

Full of Grace Interiors bring Melbourne design influences to this breezy Sydney home.

Architecture

A 90m² Inner-Suburban Block Turned Multipurpose Family Home!

MRTN Architects have designed family home, office, and granny flat on a mere 90m² Brunswick East block!
02:27

Travel

A Perfect Day in Daylesford & The Macedon Ranges, With Paul Bangay

Lucy joins legendary landscape designer Paul Bangay for a dreamy day trip in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, capturing the best that the

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!

News

The Very Best In First Nations Fashion Design!

The National Indigenous Fashion Awards were held on Larrakia Country (Darwin), recognising First Nations artists + designers across six cate...
Sasha Gattermayr
  17 hours ago

Shopping

The Latest Collection From North Is A Total Dream

Created in collaboration with artists from Marrawuddi Arts and Culture and Injalak Arts, 'Stone Country Collection' is a celebration of the
Sally Tabart
  11 hours ago

Similar Stories

Homes

An Off-The-Plan Family Apartment Unlike Any Other

The creative home of Pino Demaio and Georgie Cleary, in a unique development in Clifton Hill.

Architecture

A Beautiful, Sustainable Home On A Surprisingly Small Footprint

A minimalist, eco-conscious three bedroom home in Cape Paterson.
Miriam McGarry

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.