MODO (Michael Ong Design Office) completed the renovation of Tunnel House, a double-fronted cottage in Hawthorn, Australia, just outside Melbourne. The clients, who are avid gardeners, wanted the home to offer a variety of outdoor opportunities.

“Our first approach was to remove the awkward rear lean-to,” the architects said. “Instead of extending from the existing house, we decided to build a stand-alone structure and connect the two spaces with a central passageway.” This created a powerful visual contrast between old and new.

A new living area was placed between the rear garden and the new courtyard. This modern social zone can be completely opened up to the outdoors, thanks to the expansive sliding glass doors.

“The concept consists of four key elements: the existing front house, the tunnel, the pavilion and the voids,” the architects said. “Each of these elements are designed to be formally understood separately, but knitted closely together to work with each other.”

Intervention to the original four-room house was kept to a minimum. The modern addition incorporates a kitchen, pantry, dining room, living room, bathroom and laundry room. The asymmetrical butterfly roof, raked ceiling and high windows draw natural light inside the home. [Photography by Peter Bennetts]