A Refined New Focus – Waffle House by Rob Kennon Architects
Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Photography Derek Swalwell
Interior Design Rob Kennon Architects
Build Dimpat
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Focusing on the natural, Waffle House expands on its previous Queen Anne stylings. Rob Kennon Architects crafts a series of gestures that reorient and connect the new volumes within the existing home, honing on the handmade and the refined, proposing an enduring and considered resolve.

Sitting amongst similar heritage homes, Waffle House brings forward its original established principles into the new, reshaping them through its own heightened lens. As an addition and alteration to an existing Queen Anne style home, references to hand-crafted features aid in defining the home’s original era, which was a time that celebrated the Arts and Crafts movement. Within its Melbourne setting, the additional forms become a comfortable attribution to the existing, shaping architectural lineage and adding liberally to its predecessor. Through the establishment of a clearly defined series of insertions, the existing structure acts as a portal to the new, opening generously to its enveloping and surrounding garden spaces and encouraging interaction.

The new interior heralds a concrete waffle ceiling, forming its namesake and defining the living area as a place of connection and openness.

Built by Dimpat, with landscape design by Eckersleys Garden Architecture, Waffle House is the product of a close and collaborative effort. The new elements of the structure become a play on volume and scale, emphasising depth and shadow to unveil the natural and honest materiality of its making. Originally built in 1910, designed by Christopher Cowper, the existing building sits anchored in place through its brick masonry construction and, unlike its Victorian neighbours, shows a restraint in its adornment and application of filigree.

The new interior heralds a concrete waffle ceiling, forming its namesake and defining the living area as a place of connection and openness. Punctuations allow light to enter and fill the space without interrupting the rhythm of the ceiling. Principles of the existing are brought forward into the new by deep-set carvings and a heavy, defined focus on form. The absence of decoration allows the refined nature of joins and junctions to become a key part of the home, both integrated and engaging. As each trade merges together, the focus of the artisan becomes clear – each one carefully considers the other. The result sees a textural coming together of timber, concrete and metal, allowing an open embrace with the surrounding natural elements.

The absence of decoration allows the refined nature of joins and junctions to become a key part of the home, both integrated and engaging.

Impressing the same rigor and detail throughout the old and new, Waffle House emerges as a highly detailed yet crisp natural extension of its previous self. Rob Kennon Architects has elongated the home’s relevance and carefully reinterpreted its original intent.

Published 3 August, 2021
Photography  Derek Swalwell
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