Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

Project: Cable House / Workers’ Cottage Refurbished
Architects: Tom Robertson Architects
Design Team: David Ascroft, Tom Robertson
Location: Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Area 230.0 m2
Project Year 2017
Photographer: Tatjana Plitt

The Cable House transforms a small, dark workers’ cottage into a contemporary family home, finding elegant solutions to the challenges posed by the dense urban environment, narrow south-facing site and heritage context.

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

“Cable house is a bold and contemporary addition concealed behind the charm of an existing workers cottage. The house is brought back to life with an abundance of light and ventilation, as well as a configuration of spaces more aligned with modern living.” says Tom Robertson 
The project addresses two seemingly competing requirements. The design must deliver light, functional spaces for a young family, and simultaneously remain sensitive to the surrounding area.

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

The striking gable roof ensures the lowest points adjoin neighbouring properties, a simple yet compelling solution to planning regulations.

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

A skylight over the stairs and another above the kitchen bring natural light into the living spaces, while a window at table-height connects the dining space to a small eastern courtyard.

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

Working with minimal outdoor space, plants become integrated into the architecture to preserve a connection with nature. A planter box is built into the façade – vines growing around steel cables soften the minimalist lines and, over time, will create a living green exterior.

Tom Robertson Architects Turned Dark Workers’ Cottage into a Contemporary Family Home

Internally, a planter for vines is encased in joinery and steel cables form the balustrade, echoing the cables and vines of the exterior and bringing foliage into the very heart of the home.

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Cable House, Tom Robertson Architects

Tom Robertson Architects, outdoor

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plan 1

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