Datum House is a significant restoration and extension to an existing Victorian weatherboard home for a young family. Rob Kennon Architects designed this south-facing block to differentiate each functional zone by adjusting volume and light, as opposed to materials or planning. At Datum House the ceiling height, rather than extra square meters, creates a generous and varied sense of space (without the cost)…
A conscious 'datum line' or standard height that runs through the addition amplifies the changes in volume. Internally, modified plywood panels run below the datum with plaster above. Externally, painted recycled brickwork runs below and shiplap hardwood cladding features above. The alteration in materials above the line highlights volumetric shift, while the texture of brickwork and grain of plywood extenuates light and shadow below the line. A similar concept is replicated in the bathroom tiling.
The distinct roof profile is simplistic in form but surprisingly generous in volume, matching the volume shifts inside. In the dining and kitchen space, the ceiling rakes from the low point of the datum to a significant peak, achieving morning sun through the high-level glazing to the east.
Two sections of large sliding doors, which access the rear garden, frame views to the outdoor swing and a lemon tree, nostalgia from the sites migrant heritage, drawing the kids outside.
Adjacent to the main living space is a separate room with an asymmetrical cathedral ceiling. The height is accentuated by a hanging, black steel fireplace, backdropped by views of the backyard and the industrial building beyond. At the room’s opposing end, the space is opened to northern light by a courtyard, which also provides light and views to the adjoining kitchen, living and bathroom spaces. The courtyard can be accessed directly from the street, acting as a second, less formal entry to the home.
The rear studio is separately leased, with access from the rear lane, this transitions the project from public to private. The laneway elevation is separated into masonry, timber and corrugated iron components to sit comfortably with the scale and materials in the laneway. The skillion roof volumetrically and visually connects to a neighbouring Robinia tree and sky beyond.