Union Street Residence

Northcote, Australia
Prior Barraclough
Ben Hosking

The Union Street residence is an extension to the rear of a single-fronted, fully attached workers cottage in Northcote, Australia. It was designed by Prior Barraclough for a couple entering retirement who were downsizing and wanting to move closer to the city. The extension contains a kitchen, dining, living area on ground floor, and a study on a first-floor mezzanine.

The interior space applies minimalism throughout, aided by the dominant use of hardwood timber that conceals all ancillary functions also giving it an abstract quality. The timber is articulated by a strict and consistent grid of expressed joints, which through their repetition conceal all doors and provide visitors with a sense of intrigue and surprise as they move through and occupy the house. Conceived as a responsive medium, the surface shrink wraps a staircase, entertainment unit, kitchen, and wet areas, using a simple and precise set of folds.

The inclined ceiling works in parallel with the organisation of the plan, offering spatial definition to an otherwise open volume. The low portion of the ceiling aligns with the widest part of the plan to create an intimate and subdued living space, whereas the dining, kitchen and study are progressively more animated as the ceiling approaches its dramatic high point. The architecture of this project is carefully calibrated to synthesise a range of competing considerations into a singular, coherent form.

In the shop