Pleated House

Pleated House

Melbourne VIC, Australia
Project Year
Private Houses
Tom Blachford

Pleated House


How do you make a pleat? First you fold, then you heat. A folded roof form and charred cypress cladding are the obvious highlights of this extension to an existing single storey weatherboard in beachy Highett.

Given the home was going to be built by a well-traveled roof plumber and his design aware partner, a simple flat roofed box out the back just wasn’t going to be an option.

Equally a homage to the folded plate roof forms familiar to midcentury modernism (Donald Wexler, Barry Berkus, Pierre Koenig to name a few) and the iconic bathing boxes which dot Port Phillip Bay, the folded roof was implemented to allow for clerestory windows to let light deep into the living spaces of the extension from the north, east and west. The six different shaped clerestory windows were a key strategy to addressing the day lighting issues inherent in a south facing rear yard.

A large box gutter separates old from new and kept untidy spouting out of sight and out of mind. The central valley of the roof form was centered on the existing entry to the home, thus framing a view to the family (and dog) sized rear yard.

The client personally and lovingly charred and oiled the cypress himself in the back yard and the grooving of the ship lapped cladding informed the dark grooved kitchen. If you look close enough at the images you may even notice a charred cypress clad dog house!

Two new bathrooms were created in the existing part of the house and some internal walls were repositioned to create one master suite with walk-through robe and two subsequent bedrooms.

The clients rave about the space and upon entering it’s easy to understand why. The breeze through the house, simple approachable tactility of the materials, the even day lighting and large open doors and windows all produce the relaxing sense that you’ve just arrived to a beachside and carefree holiday. Sitting around the indoor/outdoor servery, opening a bottle of wine, roasting some peppers and chatting with our lovely clients about some past travel adventures only completes the whole enviable lifestyle experience.

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