Skip to main content


Wurundjeri Country, Melbourne, VIC

WINNER: Interior & Renovation, National Biophilic Design Awards 2023

Location: Wurundjeri Country, Melbourne VIC
Client: Private Owner
Typology: Residential
Site Area: 155m2

The name Pavone (meaning ‘peacock’ in Italian) pays tribute to the heritage of the Peacock Street dwelling. It is owned and occupied by Dr Pippa Soccio and her family; five generations of the family have now resided at the address first purchased by her husband’s grandparents in the 1950s.

Pippa is an architect and lecturer in Teaching and Learning (Built Environments) at the University of Melbourne’s School of Design. The renovation provided a testing ground for her PhD studies on indoor environment quality (IEQ) in schools. Pippa sees synergies between biophilic design and IEQ that can be leveraged to promote wellbeing and energy efficiency. With fresh airflow and natural light, Pavone House has a more stable internal temperature range and decreased energy use post-renovation.

Pavone House encourages gathering, be it in the kitchen – the heart of the home – or with neighbours in the food-producing front yard. It’s also a sanctuary with considered acoustic design and private spaces for retreat. Above all else, it is a family home designed for its occupants not just to live, but to thrive.

Direct experience of nature: The north facing pergola is an interstitial space. The line between indoor and outdoor is blurred by a large (yet young) apricot and nectarine trees, which are espaliering to the structural frame. The natural canopy provides shade and dappled light.
Prospect and refuge: Unlike other more formal areas that serve very specific functions, this outdoor room is multi-dimensional. It’s a place of retreat with a book or cup of tea; quiet reflection and calm; conversations with neighbours passing by and strangers inquiring about produce in the vegetable garden.
Direct nature: The renovated living room is designed to maximise views of nature. The large seat in front of the bi-folding windows bring the outdoors inside. Compared with pre-renovation, this room is now brightly illuminated with daylight and volumes of fresh air.
Direct nature: A fireplace provides the ambience, warmth and thermal texture.
Natural shapes and forms: Pippa and her family affectionately call their home the ‘Pavone’ House. Pavone means ‘peacock’ in Italian, and is inspired by the street name.
Age, change, and the patina of time + organized complexity: Dual exposed recycled timber post and beam systems pay homage to the past but also, due to their weathered appearance, celebrate the patina of time in all facets of life. The random pattern of fixings in the aged timber provides ideal places to hang plants of varying colours and textures.
Natural materials: Recycled hardwood benchtops and floors are finished with a wax polish to reduce VOCs (also by using low VOC internal paints).
Natural materials + (acoustic) refuge: The kitchen opens onto our meals area and a large red-cedar wall that seamlessly transitions from being an internal wall to external cladding that wraps the extension. The timber also has acoustic properties and combined with acoustic insulation (inside the cavity) improves sound absorption, shortening reverberation times. To further dampen the noise, acoustic lining was installed under the dining table.
Direct nature: A skylight allows natural light to shine into the dining space
Direct nature: Pippa grew up in Darwin (Larrakia country) in a tropical house that sat nestled within a garden and has fond memories of playing outside. Now as a mother of two boys, it was important that their home was connected to gardens – both ornamental and productive.
Place: Produce from the front garden is shared with neighbours, fostering a strong connection to community and place.