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(1) Birds-eye view of buildings surrounding a courtyard, with vegetation and soft lighting.
(2) Elevation of single-storey building with pitched roof, timber-framed windows and facade covered in vines.
(3) Interior space with timber details and furnishings, exposed timber beams reveal interior of pitched roof. Man sits at computer desk.
(4) Interior space with timber-framed glazing along one wall looking out to lush greenery, and timber cabinetry along the other wall. A large green couch occupies the foreground with a white pitched ceiling above.
(5) Interior dining room with red walls, dark wood table and chairs in the foreground and fireplace behind.
(6) Plan of ground level showing rooms surrounding a courtyard.

Living Around a Courtyard

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Rexroth Mannasmann Collective (architecture). Rush Wright Associates (landscape architecture).


Yann Street Courtyard is a house of many parts arranged around a north-facing courtyard garden. A heritage-listed two-storey terrace lines the west side of the courtyard, which is bound on the other sides by single-storey outbuildings and a masonry wall to the street.

The arrangement is unusual in Melbourne and demonstrates the potential for much more efficient use of a residential site. Because there are no setbacks or wasted spaces at the boundaries, every square metre of the land has value, as demonstrated in the compact planning that allows for a great north-facing garden and pool that form the centre of the living ensemble.

The separation of the house into three distinct structures, accessed by outside walkways, also means that no space is lost to circulation. This model could adapt well to other sites, be single level and still yield an efficient site plan. The courtyard model is not new, of course, and with a mix of old and new structures, this design borrows from an old tradition for its resolution.

Also of note is that the site can support the independent lives of mixed age family members in a communal, but suitably separated, multi-generational setting that should endure for many years.

What's On

This is an opportunity to visit a private house and garden that is quite unusual in the Melbourne suburbs. This is a chance to see the project, meet the designers and enjoy some light refreshments in the living space.

The designers will talk every hour, on the hour, for about ten minutes and there will be plenty of time for questions.
This is not a typical architecturally-designed house, but instead is a careful retrofit of existing structures to sustain a family living in a multi-generational environment around a central courtyard. A few family members, including adult children, will be present who may be able to talk to the relative degree of success of the arrangement. The discussions will also be about gardening and the courtyard, which is a bit of a loosely-managed subtropical jungle, itself key to the relaxed feeling of the place.

Children's Activities

There is a pool and children will need to be closely supervised at all times.

In Collaboration With:

  • The Rexroth Mannasmann Collective

    The Rexroth Mannasmann Collective is an architectural studio based on the east bank of the Merri Creek on Wurundjeri land in Northcote. Friends Brenton, Giles and Kirsty established Rexroth in 2003, and incorporate the clients’ voice and an awareness of urban and social histories to inform their architectural responses.

Images: (1) Yann Street Courtyard from above. Photo: Michael Wright. (2-5) Yann Street Courtyard. Photos: Erica Lauthier. (6) Plan of Yann Street Courtyard. Photo: Rexroth Mannasmann Collective.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 + Sunday 28 July
Tours run 2pm, 3pm, 4pm + 5pm
Running for 45 minutes in groups of 12
Bookings required

Bookings required—$7 booking fee applies
First release tickets: 12pm Wednesday 3 July
Second release tickets: 12pm Saturday 6 July

Full address will be provided to ticketholders in confirmation email upon booking.
Entry off Yann Street—access the house and courtyard via the front side gate under the chalice (Solandra maxima) vine!



Partially wheelchair accessible, Accessible bathroom, Accessible parking nearby

Partially wheelchair accessible


Preston VIC 3072

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