Datum House | FIGR.
Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Tom Blachford

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford

From The Architect

At the street elevation, Datum House takes subtle signals from the neighbouring properties in roof shape and material references. The project takes encouragement from its environment and context and reinterprets its findings through a modern take on a traditional Victorian elevation, causing a considered outcome and street amalgamation. We began with our client’s extensive brief for a house for a growing family of 5. Our domestic container envelope was originated from a simple extrusion of the Victorian cottage silhouette, positioned onto the narrow sloping site to create a defined datum. The result is the envelope being influenced by the surrounding context, the needed amenity and its negotiation with the current site constraints.

The split-level organisation was a reply to the conditions of the sloping site and the site constraints of the bordering dwellings. The program has been cautiously arranged and contained within the extruded envelope to answer the rescode prerequisites for side setbacks and furthermore to formally assimilate the building into its context. The final consequence is as much about the atmosphere and areas within the house as it is about the link of those areas to its context and environment.

The notion to subtract a volume from the envelope of the building to produce a centrally located courtyard evolved as a tactic to offer the house access to biological light and to offer the rooms with graphic amenity.
Inserts into the envelope in the form of the black metal shrouds form openings that relate to both graphic and biological light amenity. These moments open our domestic container envelope to expose elements of the context beyond. A large pivot window lengthens the daybed into the rear yard to convert the window into a seating and reading podium.

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford

A central courtyard is exhibited at the entry. Stepping into the entry alcove the clients are given the choice to turn left and arrive into the main living quarters, to go straight and enter the central courtyard or to turn right to take 5 steps up into the green carpeted sanctuary or 14 steps down into the lower level kids bedroom quarters. Datum house is separated into 3 levels, ground level sheltering the open plan living with a linear kitchen plan binding together the dining and living areas, bordered by the backyard to the south and the central courtyard to the north. Level 1 encompasses the retreat/study, European laundry, main bedroom and ensuite and lower ground holds 3 kids bedrooms, bathroom & WC.

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford

Images Courtesy Of FIRG. - Photography By Tom Blachford


Architects -


Builder -


Engineer -

 Meyer Consulting Engineers

Building Surveyor -

 Michel Group Building Surveyors

Photography -

 Tom Blachford

Styling -

 Ruth Wesley

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