Celebrating Light – Pocket Rocket House by Timmins and Whyte Architecture and Design
Focusing on natural light and emphasising the narrow, slight profile of the traditional terrace house a feature to celebrate, Pocket Rocket House challenges the conventional renovation of this typology. Timmins and Whyte Architecture and Design combine efficiency and curation to propose the resulting light-filled home, transforming the experience from within.
Set amongst a familiar scene in inner Melbourne in Richmond, Pocket Rocket House sees the re-carving of a traditional narrow terrace into a contemporary and open family home. Previously part of a row of identical homes along the street, the terrace’s original façade and planning mirrored its neighbours while it had also been the recipient of additions over time. Although the intent of the additions was to add valuable space, their positioning and solid nature resulted in blocking access to natural light and the transition between inside and out. Timmins and Whyte Architecture and Design use this as the impetus for the brief, replanning the home to bring sunlight inwards, connect the interior with the outdoors and make the overall home more functional and effective for its inhabitants.
Flanked by neighbours on either side, Pocket Rocket House needed to overcome its constraining narrowness and optimise its assets. By viewing the challenges of the site as opportunities, the team worked to arrange the various zones to better align with their function and allow areas to bleed into one another. With the previous addition removed, the new form introduces skylights and glass that generously douse the home with natural light, through their scale and positioning bringing sunlight deep into the internal spaces. A light, neutral base palette ensures the spaces are made to feel as perceptively generous as possible, while restraint in the number of finishes ensures linework helps to elongate the sense of space in the process.
Built by Align Concepts, the existing double story heritage building was retained, and the kitchen, bathroom and detached toilet was demolished. A new connected kitchen, scullery and laundry open to the newly formed courtyard space, allowing the outdoor space to be its own dedicated room. Between the lower and upper level, rooms are rearranged to create a new living space in the original part of the home downstairs, with lightwells and glazing used to bring additional light in where possible. On the upper level, a main bedroom, ensuite and two outdoor roof gardens are inserted, all with access to light and the skyline beyond.
A light, neutral base palette ensures the spaces are made to feel as perceptively generous as possible, while restraint in the number of finishes ensures linework helps to elongate the sense of space in the process.
Timmins and Whyte Architecture and Design’s Pocket Rocket House is true to its namesake, sitting as an efficient yet effective series of spaces that combine old and new. Once dark and constrained, through reinterpreting the terrace typology’s defining qualities, the home now feels open and refreshingly connected.