Kew House

Set on a busy street in one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, Kew House stands tall with its bold modernist facade, and yet seamlessly blends into the heritage context.

Built around two courtyards, surrounded by water, the residences bring back the traditions of intergenerational living.

Denmark Street, Kew

Dual residences

Completed in 2021

DKO, SLAB, Etched

The linearity of the metal cladding and concrete finish is juxtaposed with natural filetti stone and a backdrop of layered planting. DKO’s clever roof design brings respectful proportion and scale to the neighbouring heritage buildings.

Inside, the cultural significance of the humble courtyard is given a sense of serenity with an open-air fish pond. A swimming pool wraps around the north, surrounding the buildings with water – both features ensuring light penetration throughout the day.

A series of cutouts help the courtyards in zoning off the living spaces, but still give the occupants visual connections when desired.

SLAB’s restrained selection of all natural oak joinery and Shou Sugi Ban cladding brings balance and depth throughout the spaces.

Robust and natural materials thoughtfully transition the inside to out, with Melbourne bluestone used as a unifying element.

The rear residence, self contained to enable intergenerational living, takes cues from the other with continuation of the charred timber and bluestone. A series of Japanese maple trees add moments of interest through each changing season and give a gentle nod to simple living.


Photography by Tom Blachford. Built by RZ Owens