Extra Spaces


  • Patrick Byrne
  • Dr Peter Brew


Extra Spaces presents a replicable business model through which a housing developer is able to construct a number of dwellings and an ‘Extra Home’ for a homeless person at a 1 in 10 instance. The project occupies the site of a real estate agency in Fitzroy where 10 affordable housing units with communal and commercial spaces are provided by developer, Lagom, and an ‘Extra Home’ from housing provider, Extra Homes. Through the subdivision of the site and sale of air-rights, the two entities exist independently, with minimal impact to the developer’s net profit.

Key Features


Extra Spaces can be thought of as two separate but integrated projects addressing the needs of two different groups of people. Both consider how a high-quality environment affects its inhabitants. The apartment tower (Lagom), split by an external staircase and lift core, is set back from the North, East and West, allowing sunlight to penetrate it and the ‘Extra Home’ below. The spaces exceed the requirements of the Better Apartment Design Standards with flexible floor plans and an operable facade suiting occupants needs.


The \’Extra Home\’ exists as its own entity, on its own title, and is not part of the owner’s corporation. This eliminates the influence of potential complaints regarding the politics of housing a homeless person. Further, the arrangement of space encourages a future of housing where private property is reduced to the necessities, encouraging the use of shared areas and blurring the boundary of what is public and what is private. The proposal demonstrates that the provision of homeless housing does not need to come at a cost to a developer and can be easily replicated across metropolitan Melbourne.


The project reimagines what it means to live today as both a property owner and a homeless person. References are made to the domestic works of Australian architects including Sean Godsell Architects and Breathe Architecture, bringing high quality design to everyday people. A sense of familiarity is roused at the ground plane through mimicry of the surrounding environment, acknowledging that a respect for the past and present is necessary to develop a better future.


‘Lagom’ is a Swedish expression conveying sustainability over the hoarding nature of consumerism. The units consider 21st century living and explore how different uses of space can overlap, reducing the overall footprint and producing homes that are ‘just the right size’. Communal work and leisure spaces provide opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas while expanding the concept of home. The defined living spaces of the \’Extra Home\’ foster a homeliness and permanence not found in existing homeless accommodation. Perched above a commercial space, it capitalises on the Brunswick Street frontage using rent to offset the cost of the home.

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