Cloud House

Cloud House

The Cloud House is an addition and renovation to a double-fronted Edwardian house in Fitzroy North, Melbourne, Australia. Over the course of close to a century, this house has received several additions and modifications.

McBride Charles Ryan’s work for the house is designed in three parts. This allows for a sequence of distinct and unexpected episodes, with glimpses previewing oncoming spaces and experiences as you move through the home.

The street facade has been left to demonstrate the clients’ respect for the evolution of the character of the area and the modest street alteration belies the extent of the comprehensive internal renovation work. The spaces within the original structure are largely white in colour, united by exotic floral hallway carpet. This journey through the space is followed by encountering a disintegrated red-coloured ‘box’. This is the kitchen, at the heart of the property, which acts as a bridge linking the major spaces. A cloud-shaped extrusion is the unexpected final space. Following the form of a child-like impression of a cloud it is a playful addition where family and friends can eat and have fun surrounded by the curved form.

The new living addition faces due south while allowing controlled north sun into the living area and providing effective cross ventilation. The form of the ‘cloud’ conforms to setback regulations without appearing obviously determined by them. The extrusion creates a dramatic interior language where walls merge seamlessly with the floor and ceiling. The craftsmanship is remarkable throughout; it has a sense of care one typically associates with the work of a cooper or wheelwright. While the geometry is playful, the extrusion is essentially a contemporary barrel vault. It is our hope that this cloud has a ‘silver lining’.

January 2012
Barkly Street, Fitzroy North

Melbourne Design Awards 2012

Winner – Residential

Interior Design Excellence Awards 2012

Highly Commended – Single Residential

World Architecture Festival 2012

Shortlisted – Houses


Houses, June 2012 Issue 86
Architecture Australia, online 06 Aug 2012, 21 Jun 2012
DesignBoom, 25 Jun 2012
Australian Design Review, 11 July 2012 31 July 2012
World Architecture News, 01 Aug 2012
Architecture & Design, 15 Jul 2013
ArchiTravel Online Guide, 06 Feb 2017


The conversion of this Edwardian-era double fronted house utilises the potential of the existing building by demolishing little, refurbishing the existing rooms, replacing the kitchen and adding a new living room. While retaining its complexity of geometry, the extrusion of the cloud is essentially a structurally efficient barrel vault. Double-glazed end walls of the sustainable timber-lined ‘cloud’ are adjusted so that, the north-facing glazing is inset to eliminate penetration of the summer sun, allowing only controlled north light into the space. Effective cross ventilation is achieved through this space by opening the southern sliding doors with high placed louvered windows to the north pulling through the breeze. Evaporative cooling can be achieved from the body of swimming pool water. A rainwater tank harvests water from the roof of the existing building for irrigating the garden