Ply-Grove House


Ply-Grove House is a timber house with feature skylights to the north . Structurally inventive with a multi-faceted approach to a more sustainable hybrid structure of both steel and timber framing with Plywood panelling internally and Iron-ash Victorian timber externally.

The clients were originally from around Geelong near the south-west coast of Victoria,  and as a family they have a love of the water and beach as well as the urban amenity of living in a beautiful pocket of South Melbourne, close to the city, schools, music, the arts, pubs, and also bayside beaches. The clients challenged us to design them a house that would both suit their hectic and at times noisy and informal lifestyle; not too fussy, with a relaxed vibe, sophistication to the materials yet somehow softened in the same way that classic beach shacks are – inviting moments of calmness and light and connecting to nature. We were mindful of our clients’ expertise in building and likely hands-on involvement during construction, and wanted to incorporate as many timber elements as possible, both to reduce structural cost, increase sustainability and allow him to undertake the carpentry elements.

The design evolved as a series of overlapping timber screens and slats with an enclosing cement panel  cladding skin to the boundary walls. Timber portals and timber screens overlap with a feature cantilevered balcony and 2 linear skylight slots that bring light deep into the heart of the east-west-facing home. Birch-faced plywood features internally in both wall cladding and joinery, with a powder blue highlight colour a counterpoint, and a feature stone kitchen island of blues and greens evokes the sea.

  • Location; South Melbourne, Victoria
  • Site Area; 160m2
  • Photographer; mcmahon and nerlich
  • Year; 2020