Most Australian residential blocks feature a dwelling followed by a backyard, but in this Fitzroy North house, the garden is literally and conceptually central to the entire project. 

The house itself spans two separate buildings, the first containing a guest bedroom and a workshop. This street-facing building could easily be mistaken as an authentic workers’ cottage upon first glance, but is in fact a newly-constructed structure inspired by the area’s architectural heritage. Rob Kennon Architects have achieved this look by drawing on the proportions of a traditional workers’ cottage, and consolidating the verandah and roof into a single form. Timber battens mask the facade, allowing the traditional proportions of the cottage to be articulated in a graphic manner.

A central corridor leads through the front cottage into the heart of the home – the garden. Designed in close collaboration with Eckersley Garden Architecture, this space maximises access to sunlight and can be viewed from almost every point of the home. 

Following the garden is the main two-storey building of the house, which has been strategically aligned with a neighbouring two-storey home. The main living areas are located below, with bedrooms and bathrooms above. 

Finally, at the rear of the block is another courtyard, which enjoys an outlook through the glass-walled living areas right to the front of the property. ‘I love that it’s this uninterrupted plane from any point,’ Rob says. 

By rethinking a typical terrace house, this project creates a freedom and openness not often experienced on tight inner-city blocks – something Rob hopes to replicate on similar sites. ‘It’s efficient – I think it’s a good model for future development,’ he says. ‘Doing something that’s not typical has turned out to be a viable option for quite a few of those blocks.’ 

View all projects by Rob Kennon Architects here. 



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