The site of an old rundown tennis court created a unique opportunity for a contemporary home in the historic town of Kyneton. The tennis court had been subdivided off from the property of a Victorian-era home and offered the new clients the best of both worlds: a short walk to the heart of town, yet close to the Campaspe River, surrounded by established trees and parkland. It also meant the chance to build a modern home without the heritage constraints found elsewhere in the town.
Project Name: Kyneton House
Studio Name: Moloney Architects
Project Size: 280 m2
Site Size: 2290 m2
Completion Date: 2020
Building Levels: 1
Location: Kyneton, Australia
Photography: Dave Kulesza
The existing site cut into the hillside for the old tennis court helped determine the location for the new home. The services, sleeping and living zones of the house are conceived as separate wings, arranged on site to maximise light and view access. Both the services and sleeping wings are constructed out of concrete blockwork, anchoring the home to the site. These solid elements bookend a light-weight timber and glass living pavilion, providing privacy and protection where it’s needed and a connection to the views and landscape where it’s desired.
Oriented towards the north, the living area makes the most of solar orientation – harnessing direct sunlight in winter, while remaining shady and cool in summer. Full-height windows allow the home to connect to terraces on both sides. The west-facing blockwork wall continues uninhibited between outside to inside, and then back out again. The solid wall also creates a ‘heat-trap’, re-radiating the sun’s warmth back into the courtyard spaces long after the sunset.
The outside-inside-outside effect is enhanced by a lowered ceiling over the centre of the living area which creates a more intimate sense of space, but also conceals the window frames from view, allowing the eye to forget the glass barrier. A deep concrete window seat sits within the design of a ‘gridded’ steel pergola that extends to both sides, blurring the threshold between inside and out. Of course, when the sliding doors are opened the home literally opens to the garden, encouraging daily life to spill outside.
The intentionally more cloistered sleeping wing feels private and protected, but glimpses of the landscape are framed to bring the lush greenery inside. In the main bedroom, dark walls focus the eye outdoors while a study space is defined by a built-in desk and shelving unit, meaning both the bedroom and the study can benefit from a much larger space while still having their own distinct zones.
A raw and robust material palette of concrete blocks, black steel, charred timber, natural timber and burnished concrete are assembled on the hillside cutting as a muted backdrop for the landscape. The design cuts a striking silhouette among the trees and gives this neglected parcel of land a new life as family home.