Australian studio Mihaly Slocombe has returned to a Melbourne home it completed almost a decade ago to add a timber nursery annex patterned with circular cutouts.
Mihaly Slocombe created Kids Pod as an extension for its 2006 house situated on a vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula, a finger of land that curves around Port Phillip to the south-east of Melbourne.
The 59-square-metre addition comprises a bedroom, playroom and bathroom for the clients' grandchildren, and is connected to the original house by a glazed corridor.
Rather than taking the form of the existing house as a starting point, the architects drew inspiration from the boxy shape of raised planters and from the patterns found in the surrounding vineyards.
"We wanted to create a super-sized folly that would belong first and foremost to its garden landscape," explained the architects.
"It is a reinterpretation of how we once imagined our own childhood cubby house to be: playful, theatrical, secretive and robust," said the architects.
Small circular cut-outs in the silvertop-ash cladding – sourced from a variety of eucalyptus trees found in southern Australia – form an abstract pattern based on the foliage of the pinot noir vines.
These perforations run across a row of hinged wooden shutters that fold up during the day to create awnings for the windows, while dots of light shine through the openings at night.
Inside, the space is lined in pale plywood and has polished concrete floors. A long bench runs below the windowsill in a passageway between the bedroom and playroom.
The playroom and bedroom are separated from a corridor by a plush red curtain inspired by cinema and theatre performances, which allows the space to be used in various configurations.
"It is playful, with more moving parts than is typical for such a small building: operable shutters, sliding walls, retractable curtains," said the team.
"We like to think Kids Pod is what a child might design for herself – given six years of architecture school and an adult's resources," they added.
The glazed corridor that connects the annex to the main house was envisioned as a playroom for toddlers, and later as a reading nook for teenagers.