“ The team at AMG worked with us to get a great outcome. Nothing was ever too much trouble. They went over and above our expectations.”

Ian Alford

Alford Residence

The design was a collaboration between Architect and Builder (the client).

Geelong, Victoria.

Brief: to create a strong architectural statement, mindful of the practicalities of construction. It needed to be beautiful as well as practical to build and ultimately live in.

The house is located in a Heritage Precinct. We decided to create a design that responded to the strict Heritage conditions at the front of the site (the street front) and a more modern solution at the rear of the site. The intention was to create a design that appeared to be a stylish renovation of an existing modest weatherboard home, with a contrasting modern extension at the rear. The old and the new linked via a very lightweight glazed transition in between.

The front component of the house (Heritage street front):

  • Garage
  • Main Entry
  • Sitting Room
  • Master Bedroom, WIR and En-Suite

The rear component of the house (modern living wing):

  • Glazed service link
  • Kitchen
  • Dining
  • Meals
  • Alfresco Dining
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • Bathroom
  • Powder Room and
  • Laundry

AMG Architects worked extremely closely with the client/builder as well as the neighbours, Council and Heritage Advisor to arrive at a design that satisfied everyone’s requirements. In summary a contemporary suburban house that seamlessly blends into a strict heritage precinct.

Key Design Features

  • Create a heritage frontage and a modern rear extension with a lightweight glassed link between them.
  • Capture and direct prevailing breezes through the house to passively ventilate and cool the building.
  • Enable ample daylight into the internal spaces to create light and shadow, highlighting the natural timber flooring
  • Create a seamless connection between the open-plan living areas through to the alfresco living and comprehensively landscaped outdoor areas. We achieved this with floor-to-ceiling aluminium sliding windows, large decks set at the same height as the internal flooring (creating this seamless flow from timber internal flooring to external timber decking) and the continuation of high internal ceilings through to the outside, forming the external eaves.
  • Adopt mainstream light-weight timber framing as the primary construction method on a traditional reinforced concrete slab. This reduced the number of trades required to build this project. The client, a builder, effectively completed more than 50% of the entire house, saving money and made the project much easier to manage, with fewer trades being involved.
  • Incorporate ample clever storage solutions throughout the house, to help organise, streamline and simplify the client’s day-to-day lives.
  • The clients have several cars that needed to be accommodated on site. But they didn’t want the presence of a garage to detract from the overall aesthetic. This was achieved by locating a detached garage at the rear of the site, which could be accessed by the rear service lane. There is a logical timber link between this detached building through to the rear of the house. The timber link ties in perfectly with the main outdoor deck areas.

Material Used

The clients wanted to specifically use a combination of materials that would be suitable for this suburban environment, in terms of aesthetics, practicality and affordability. AMG Architects used this palette of materials and finishes to articulate the different parts of the house, reduce bulk and scale, create dynamic interest and identity between the heritage front and modern rear wing. Some of the key materials used included:

  • James Hardies Linea Weatherboards.
  • James Hardies Scyon Matrix articulated cladding.
  • Colorbond corrugated steel roofing and wall cladding.
  • Silvertop Ash internal flooring and external decking.
  • Aluminium windows with thermally efficient double glazing.
  • Caesar stone benchtops in bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Stainless steel European Appliances.

Ecologically sustainable design principles used

The house was designed to achieve a 6-star energy rating and a very low carbon footprint. The need to mechanically heat, cool and ventilate the house is very low, all-year-round. The large eaves around the open-plan living areas cut out the harsh summer sun, while still allowing the lower winter sun to penetrate into these spaces. The double-glazing reduces heat loss, especially in winter. The extensive insulation under the slab, in the walls, ceilings and roof, help to keep the warmth in winter and the excessive heat out in summer. The strategic location of windows allows the opportunity to capture breezes and filter them through the house and back out. This is a natural method of using prevailing breezes to cross-ventilate the building.

Project Time Frame

The project took over 18 months to design, detail, complete design approval and building permit drawings, procure town planning permits, building permits, and fully-build, including landscaping and swimming pool.

Project Budget

The project was delivered on time and within budget.


Written by Rebecca Gleghorn