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Kelkan architecture


Planning permit applications

are typically needed for residential developments and renovations on small lots, multi-dwellings or where there's a heritage overlay.

Ideas, feasibility, concept design

is where it all starts. It's also where the most critical and costly decisions are made, so it helps to consider all your options with care and experience.

Full architectural service

is a comprehensive design process with construction overview, from project initiation, design, permits, contract documentation, contract administration, construction inspections including after completion.

Architect site visit, advocacy

at your site, to provide on site interactive information and ideas, or to help understand a proposed development nearby.

Development advice

for a second opinion, a project or design review or advice about realising a site's development potential.

Architect's job

as your architect is to take on the bulk of the work, provide help and advice throughout the process, and make it simple and easy for you.

Over 25 years

providing uncompromised advice independent of builders and suppliers. Our value is our expertise, reliability, a holistic approach, and the way we assist and work with you to achieve the best result.

To realise a design

needs a lot to happen, between the idea and moving in to a finished building. Getting a great design is highly important, but issues such as feasibility, site conditions, costs, authorities, permits, construction and the final touches also need deft resolution.

Design we like

is in both the grand vision and the details. Space and style, modern and dynamic. Outdoor connections, natural things, daylight. Functionality so things work efficiently. A touch of whimsy, a visual challenge, something different, an exception to the rule. Timber that's environmental and easy to use. Bricks for their exceptional durability and heritage value. Black for its recessive, moody and contrasting character.


require a considerable attention to detail, balancing the old with the new, to avoid inconvenient and costly surprises. Aligning a new design with the existing often leads to practical advantages, though sometimes the best approach is to start anew.


planning policy aims to preserve the history of a place. New work should not compete or be confused with the heritage fabric. Typical issues include demolition, positioning, setback, bulk, form, appearance, character, height, car parking and landscaping.

Sustainability, energy efficiency, passive design

aim to create buildings that reduce the environmental footprint through reduction of green house gasses, improved use and disposal of resources. Energy efficiency is increased by using the sun to heat the house in winter, and in summer using natural ventilation and shading for cooling.

Town house

design starts from understanding key issues of the planning scheme such as neighbourhood character, height limits, street setbacks, car parking, private open space, garden areas and overlooking, then applying these in a design that maximises the opportunities and minimises the constraints.


Kelkan architecture,, 03 9380 6372, 657 Station Street North Carlton Vic.

Need an architect to visit your home or project site?

We provide on-site advice for design and project related issues - for ideas, concepts, project feasibility, town planning, building regulations, time frames, a second opinion and other matters to enable you to understand what is involved so you to get your project up and running. We can meet at your home or project site.

We provide professional advice

Let us know in advance, as best as possible, what you wish to know about or achieve, and any particular issues, so we are better prepared to provide appropriate advice at our meeting.

We will be led by you as to what you want.

In our preparation we will also look at, depending on what you tell us, your site on Google earth, review council planning requirements and where necessary try to clarify any matters of which you advise us.


Please also include the following.

At the meeting:

Our site visits are normally 1 hour duration, which we feel is usually adequate to provide you with a way forward.

While we will consider the condition of your building in providing advice, we do not provide a building condition inspection service. Advice provided during the meeting is primarily verbal, with some simple hand drawn sketches or notes if required to help explain our advice.

Adding or renovating in Fitzroy, Carlton and other inner areas with a heritage overlay. Consider the policy issues:

Yarra Council plan states “.. to keep a sense of history and place, as reflected by streetscapes, shops and houses, as well as how to pay tribute to the lived history and heritage, connecting with the stories and experiences of those who came before us and shaped the character of Yarra”.

Heritage place

Buildings have been graded for their heritage contribution, either as individually significant, contributory, or non contributory.

Contributory building

The important heritage elements are principally those that are visible from the street, but also include elements that contribute to the status of the heritage place. Policy encourages retention of contributory elements, but removal of existing elements considered non-contributory.

Design for heritage

Design of upper storey additions

street visibility sight line diagrams

Design & building process - Architect's 7 principal stages and organisational roles

Pre-design, concept design, design development, documentation, contractor selection, contract administration, post construction.

1. Pre-design

What you want - your project brief, how we will work together and engagement of your architect.

Gather information about your site, context, boundaries, easements, land slope, existing buildings, neighbour's buildings, vegetation, views, services, access and similar.

2. Concept design

Initial creation of an architectural concept of space and form. Consider alternative options, assess regulatory controls and costs.

3. Design development

Refine the design into a preferred solution. Examine function, the smaller elements, determine materials, finishes and environmental systems.

If required, apply for town planning approval. Applications normally require a considerable amount of documentation, and depending on the issues involved, a council decision often takes some time and may require negotiation and compromise.

4. Documentation

Prepare comprehensive drawings and specifications to define the details and technicalities of construction, quality, materials, finishes and workmanship, for building approval and the construction contract.

5. Contractor selection

Source suitable builders for tendering, assess tender submissions, select preferred builder, prepare and sign contracts.

6. Contract administration

Oversee implementation of the building contract through to the end of the post construction period, by regular inspections, builder liaison and progress payment assessment.

Practical completion is when the construction is essentially complete and you are able to move in.

7. Post construction

One year after practical completion, inspect the project and finalise the builder's contract.

Organisation and roles

Full architectural services is the conventional role undertaken by an architect. This includes design, providing independent professional advice and representing your interests throughout the project.

Full services relationship

Partial architectural services is where the architect provides partial design services. The client deals directly with builder. There is no professional oversight by the architect of construction, for quality, cost variations, or to ensure full implementation of the design.

Partial services relationship

Improving the look and feel of your home?

Surveys give this as the number one reason for a home renovation. But what does it actually mean, look and feel?

Feeling is believing

Perception is selective. Cognitive processes colour our vision. Value filters focus us on what is important, giving meaning to our environment, our place in it.

Our response to the physical world is not precise. Our home doesn’t make us react in a particular way, but research says that it does play some, but undefined, material part.

My home is more than a shelter, it’s of a higher order. I interact with it, in my emotions and moods, joys, peace of mind and mental wellbeing. This is the look and feel of my home!

Driven by a changing world

Change inducing pressures, there’s lots of them, technology, attitudes, social values, market disruptors, influencers, and all, subverting our values, standards and expectations.

While it’s easy to compile a long list on how your home is failing, your value set is underlined by an endless message from the world outside, about what is the true spirit of our age, how we should live. Change is good, transform your life!

Merging meaning with context

Architectural design is a manipulative process to arrange elements of the physical world, in a way that merges our values to give meaning. It's rarely a straight forward or definitive process. Often there are iterations, creative leaps, negatives and fuzzy edges. It starts with a set of values, those that come from within.

Creative design is more than applying trends. It’s a response to the higher-level challenges, an appeal to our human qualities, where we can share a story or a history, a narrative that imbeds meaning. It can be as simple as a metaphor or as complex as a novel.

A design over time

We seek a place to engage with the power and strength of artistic expression, over history. A living environment intertwined by ideas and concepts, form and materiality.

design for artistic expression over history

Our response is an eclectic installation. Decorative interventions, on edge but not necessarily harmonious or functional. Arbitrary juxtapositions, less about space and boundaries. It’s a story of living with history, to and fro.

A design to retreat

Our primary needs are safety, shelter and privacy. A retreat for peace of mind and comfort, a personal place to regain synergies, barriered from the outside world.

design for peace of mind and comfort

Our response is protected serenity. Defined spaces and boundaries, visibility and privacy, clarity and strength. References that orientate so you know to where you are. A metaphorical story of security and timelessness.

A design for action

“My home is more than where I belong, it’s where I am” Easy active, interactive and flexible. A silent backdrop that empowers me to do as I want when I want. Time is of the essence.

design for easy active

Our response is spatial flows, unimpeded, proximity and openness. Multiple functions, extended choice, embed capacity, unstructured. Flexibility for personal decision making, aided by artificial intelligence. It’s a story of energy, movement, directions and time.

Design evolves to reconcile heritage values

A bold terrace house addition gradually retreats in face of heritage interpretation during the planning stage. It questions what are the limits for new building work before it reduces the value of a heritage place.

The retreat

The 2nd storey was setback from the chimney a small distance initially considered as enough to maintain the heritage integrity of this element.

Version 2 was setback slightly further from the chimney, and the roof height was lowered to also reduce visibility from the street.

Version 3 was setback further still and the roof height lowered again, and in addition the room reduced so as to preserve more of the visible roof section, and thus more of the heritage component.

2nd storey addition version 1 2nd storey addition version 2 2nd storey addition version 3

Heritage significance

The building is not of individually significant heritage value, but rated as contributory to the significance of the broader precinct. The Burra Charter states ‘The amount of change to a place and its use should be guided by the cultural significance of the place and its appropriate interpretation.’

The heritage significance of the suburb is described as a demonstration of early development of the area, with well preserved architectural style of late 19th century, 1 & 2 storey terrace houses in low rise streetscapes of generous public domain.

Contributory elements include pitched roofs, 1 & 2 storey, rectilinear floor plans, face brick, corrugated iron and slate roofing, chimneys, verandas, high wall/window area ratio and front gardens.

Acceptable heritage co-existence

The precinct is of indisputable heritage value. Individual chimneys and roof lines are essential contributory elements and need to be preserved.

Well designed new work that is partially visible behind these elements should be acceptable providing it doesn’t detract from our ability to interpret and understand our heritage past.

Architects expensive?

Architect projects often appear to be expensive because their designs stand out. Clients usually want higher quality, and the designs are an expression of this quality.

Cheap building?

If your aim is to obtain a cheap building, cheaper than “standard”, an architect can design for this too. Cheaper, not because it’s a dodgy product, but a result of careful design that strips out all the unnecessary elements that you don’t want, or can live without.

Design with detail

You engage an architect for lots of reasons, including a superior design service. You get a design to your requirements, with all the details spelled out. This takes time and care, to do properly.


The cost benefit for you is competitive prices from builders, where they are quoting on the same things, the project is clear as to what is required, easier to build as it is all worked out in advance and less likely to have cost blow-outs.

You also get a building that is specifically designed for you, a quality product, and independent advice throughout the whole process.