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Architecture: Kew House, ‘The Claw’

March 28, 2011

Nic Owen’s dramatic extension in leafy Kew embraces a sloping site, bringing natural light into the family home.

This extension is an example of the responsible rationalisation of a typical suburban house, offering a stimulating environment and demonstrating environmentally sustainable design.

The project is located on a 740sqm site in Kew, Melbourne. The existing house, while generous in size, lacked a clearly thought out plan. The land dropped by 5.5m over the length of the site and further complicated the spatial arrangement of the home. The design required a rearrangement of spaces to better cater for the young family, relating each space to the outside world.

The design solution resulted in little change to the overall footprint. A previous rear extension, which had housed a ‘meals room’, was removed and replaced with ‘the claw’. Aptly named by the owners, the new family room embraces the sloping land by reaching up to the raised rear garden. The claw’s roof is designed to provide solar protection to the north while allowing the winter sun indoors. Full height glazing on three sides extends the living environment into the rear landscaped yard.

The folding theme has been continued in the joinery, with folding bench-tops in the kitchen and folding plywood elements in the bathrooms. A splash of hue complements the simple colour palette, with coloured glass used throughout.

Team Architect: Nic Owen

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