MM House 2019

MM House
Northcote VIC 3070
Booking required – see link below
10am – 4pm
House Open Style
Guided Tours – Booking essential (address will not be listed on website)
Entry fee or Donation
$5 per ticket (chlildren under 12 free)
Donations supporting
Sustainable House Day 2020
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
EME Design
House Size
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms

Book your tickets here to visit MM House. This home is open for pre-booked tours only, the address will not be displayed. 

At first glance, MM House’s striking forms and spaces are uncompromisingly distinct and contemporary. However, the more interesting story is that the genius of the design comes from the site’s constraints, local context and a focus on multivalent sustainability.

During the tours, the owner/designer will present key aspects of this unique family home including:

  • The process of design with a focus on resilience and flexibility
  • The way the building has been designed to evolve over time
  • The process of building an airtight home
  • Hybrid approach to insulation and thermal mass
  • Demonstration of the heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system
  • Monitored results of the thermal performance of the building (in conjunction with Melbourne University)
  • Monitored results of energy consumption and production
  • Water-saving measures
  • And other learnings.

The house comprises three volumes, each having a morphed gable form uniquely optimised to capture light, views and passive solar. Mediated by the constraints of the heritage overlay, the gable-inspired profile nevertheless respects the amenity and echoes the charm of its neighbouring heritage bungalows.

A multivalent approach to sustainability guided all aspects of this project. After careful analysis of the existing 1978 Besser Block home, it was evident that renovating the existing was not feasible at a number of levels, in particular building envelope, spatial planning, orientation. However, an important decision was taken to reuse all of the existing strip foundations and concrete slab. This saved massive amounts of embodied energy; it also dovetailed with keeping the build footprint compact, further energising the path to an efficient floor plan.

Daily rituals, seasonal solar patterns, view corridors are synthesised. Moving through the home, one is presented with a multitude of ever-changing moments, subtly choreographed, offering unexpected glimpses within and beyond – place for contemplation and connection to the world outside.

The strong architectural intent has been equally matched with commitment to creating an efficient home constructed of materials with low embodied energy. Despite the site constraints, the home is flooded with winter sun and achieves an 8 Star energy rating. In addition, the building envelope is within the realms of Passivhaus standards, including air tightness.

The MM House is made from rammed earth, lightweight construction, and timber cladding both internally and externally. It works to maximise the benefit of thermal mass within the structure and embraces cross-flow, heat stack ventilation.

It was designed to potentially become autonomous – rainwater, greywater, solar, food production have been factored into design of the home and landscape.

This carefully crafted single dwelling caters for changing family dynamics by creating two adjustable and adaptive zones, allowing for future transformation into autonomous living quarters; a home not just for now, but one to be grown into.

The house also achieved 10 stars with the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard. If you would like to find out more click here.

Find out more about EME Design.


Years Open
Universal design accessability
Adaptive design
Disability access
Universal Design Features
80cm minimum door opening width
Hobless showers
Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
Shower head on rail for various heights
Space around toilets for ease of access in wheelchairs
Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
Roofing materials
Metal (Colorbond)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Lightweight construction (timber frame)
Rammed earth
Reverse Brick veneer
Window and door types
Clerestory windows
Double glazing
Low-e, films
Sliding windows/doors
Window and door shading
Awnings (external)
Recycled and reused
Copper pipes/fittings
Roofing material
Existing concrete foundations for the entire home
Sustainable materials
Australian hardwoods – Blackbutt, wormy chestnut, yellow stringybark, recycled tallowood and red gum, radiata pine plywood, radiata pine framing, eco concrete
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Bulk with roof blanket
Rating: R6.5
Insulation - Internal/external walls
Type: High-density bulk
Rating: R5.0
Insulation - Under floor
Type: High-density bulk
Rating: R4.0
Healthy home
Airtight house design
Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
Indoor plants for air filtration
Lime render/wash
Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
Natural fibre furnishings
Natural light and ventilation
Natural oil sealer/finishes
Victorian residential efficiency scorecard rating
10 Stars
All electric home
Renewable energy
Solar PV grid connect
Size of PV system
Water heating
Hot water heat pump
Passive heating cooling
Cross ventilation
Passive solar designed home
Thermal chimney
Thermal mass
Active heating cooling
Ceiling fans
Heat exchange ventilation system
Heat pump
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Energy monitoring
Water harvesting and saving
Underground rainwater storage
Stormwater management
Drip irrigation
Under-deck tanks
Garden / Outdoors
Drip irrigation
Edible garden
Native plants