Designed by Jost Architects, the aim of St Kilda East Townhouses is a family development generating two typical dwellings. These townhouses can functionally house downsizing grandparents in one and accommodate a young family of five in the other. Through thermally passive design and careful selection of hardwearing, economic materials, the outcome of this project is two very efficient home with a good aesthetic.
The site of this project is located on a corner with a street address to the long boundary and a dog leg in the street. This means that the dwellings needed to run end to end and also parallel to the street. Along with particular site and planning conditions, daily living is also somewhat exposed to the local community in this case.
The building is a striking and prominent presence with an architectural success that embraces genuine social interaction in an increasingly prohibitive culture. It also avoids obsessions with total privacy, regulation, and technology. The kids can lean over the building fence to say hi to passers-by and grandparents.
The two dwellings are read as one with a long, elevated oblong, containing the secluded areas which still remain connected to the neighborhood with a long continuous strip window. This window still maintains suitable privacy from inside. It tapers to the short southern boundary and presents as an extension to the streetscape as the site falls.
The layout minimizes egress zones while a multipurpose airlock separates the study/4th bed and powder room with the dining room. This separation also doubles as an ensuite when a cavity slider is used to close it off to the living area. The townhouses are crowned by roof decks, providing generous entertaining areas with amazing 180° views of the You Yangs, Indented Head, and Port Phillip Bay.
The challenging western exposure is controlled by a modest eave through the thermally passive design. This exposure supports removable external blinds on the ground floor. There is a reduced horizontal glazing area but fully openable sliding windows on level 1 with more window openings to the eastern side, allowing extensive cross ventilation to all rooms.
As a thermal chimney that draws the air up from the ground floor up and out of the fully openable bi-fold doors to the roof deck, the stair can be closed off at level one of the building. There are also heating and cooling available in extreme conditions and the whole building is double glazed.
Hardwearing, economic materials are selected carefully and combined with controlled portions of higher-end detailing to enable the dwellings to be delivered for a construction budget. The efficient footprints facilitate and accommodate the requirements of two very different demographics at 174m2 and 189m2. The footprints are a great example of multi-functional medium-density living. The project result is two aesthetically interesting, modestly sized, and very efficient homes.
St Kilda East Townhouses Gallery
Photographer: John Gollings