Malvern Garden House

Malvern Garden House

Malvern Garden House is a highly-considered adaption of an existing 1930’s period home by architects Taylor Knights.

Malvern Garden House is located in Malvern, Melbourne and sits in a hilly suburban pocket.

The project scope comprised a new pavilion embedded within the terraced garden to the rear.

Taylor Knights’ design response actively repositioned the home within its unique site, thereby strengthening and celebrating the bonds of the everyday architectural experience within its immediate, lived-in landscape.

Period homes are often typified by disparate, compartmentalized spaces, lacking vital connection to the outdoors. To this end, the original dwelling presented the Taylor Knights’ team with a familiar challenge of reworking a robust but out-dated home that didn’t deliver the contemporary lifestyle aspirations of its inhabitants.

Keen to harness the unique external conditions, Taylor Knights’ approach focused on the sensitive layering of re-orientated internal spaces within the existing and new floor-plates, injecting natural light deep into the home, and contrasting expansive new views across the north-facing garden beyond with a series of sculptural, shrouded apertures.

The addition itself accommodates a new kitchen and dining space, book-ending a sequence of dissolving thresholds into the new pavilion. The modest (and somewhat contextually atypical) addition is strategically embedded within the highest point of the site.

The formal, yet immediately tactile use of concrete evokes a sense of permanence and creates a space of daily ritual and refuge. A ‘fourth terrace’ or sorts, the pavilion immediately takes cues from its context, supporting an unseen rooftop garden overhead, with vegetation spilling over a smooth concrete lip, echoing that of the garden retainers below.

This roof garden, along with the significant thermal mass of the new addition, actively provides warmth during the cooler winter months. The double-glazed threshold is purposefully set within the horizontal concrete forms, offering passive shading and highlighting the elegant cylindrical corner column which acts as a sundial throughout the year.

Essential to the project brief was to establish adaptable zoning that would nurture a young family, as well as provide comfortable accommodation for extended family. This was perhaps most simply conveyed through the diverse, yet equally-distributed arrangement of shared and secluded spaces across the shifting levels and their subsequent relationship within the ‘layered garden’ of the overall site.

Taylor Knights actively sought to identify typical motifs within the existing home from the outset, which were reinterpreted holistically, forming both gestural and fine-grain guideposts throughout.

Simply, the heritage stepped-brick detail is echoed in the concrete corbelling, anchoring the new addition into the earth.

Similarly, the heritage panelwork within the entrance hall delicately traced throughout the existing interior spaces, forming a familiar datum that continues through into the new pavilion.

During the course of this project, Taylor Knights worked closely with a skilled team of contractors, consultants, and tradespeople. The garden was expertly re-imagined by Ben Scott Garden Design, incorporating the majestic established oak and elm trees as a backdrop for enriching outdoor spaces for play, produce, and respite.

Project Details

Project size – 550 m2
Site area – 928 m2
Completion date – 2019
Building levels – 2

Project Team

Architecture and Interior Design

Taylor Knights

Taylor Knights are Melbourne based architects and interior designers specialising in highly refined and sensitive residential and commercial design. Our projects span metropolitan and rural Victoria.

Civil and Structural Engineering


Co-Struct is led by Paul Dorian, Director and Senior Structural Engineer.

Landscape Design

Ben Scott Garden Design

Ben Scott Garden Design is a boutique Melbourne-based design studio. They craft plant-rich outdoor spaces, serving as a sanctuary and seamless extension of the architecture.



Directors Adrian Poropat and Bevan Dimeck established Dimpat after jointly amassing over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Between them, they have delivered over $280 million worth of small- and medium-sized projects in Australia.


Luna Joinery

Luna Joinery is a Melbourne-based architectural joinery and cabinetry maker.

Based in Reservoir, their focus is on in-depth and custom-built designs. Luna offers a streamlined approach to custom joinery solutions.

Luna Joinery is committed to providing exceptional joinery and cabinetry solutions for renovators, builders, developers, and commercial projects using the most up-to-date machinery and design software available.

Building Surveyor

Fotia Group

Fotia a Melbourne-based building surveying firm founded in 2012 by Stephen Fotia who has more than 15 years of experience in the building surveying and construction industry.


Greener Visions

Greener Visions is committed to helping architects and their clients achieve the highest standard of design and construction.


Tescher Forge

Tescher Forge is a multidisciplinary studio specialising in the design and manufacture of joinery, architectural metalwork, steel doors and windows, and furniture.

Timber Furniture and Joinery

Made by Morgen

Made by Morgen is refined yet boundless, conscious furniture design. They emphasize a products ability to age and embody a story.

With inspiration from mid-century Scandinavian design, Made by Morgen works by hand to create refreshing, unique, and individual pieces for people, places, and spaces. They maintain traditional workmanship and quality, sourcing materials that support this standard.


Derek Swalwell

Derek is an architectural and editorial photographer from Melbourne, Australia. His name is synonymous with the photographic representation of the architectural landscape in Australia and beyond.

Having crossed the globe numerous times since starting out on his photographic journey over twenty years ago, Derek’s work documents some of the world’s most iconic built environments and visually articulates them in an entirely unique light.

For the past two decades, Derek’s commercial, editorial, fine art and lifestyle images have appeared in such notable design publications as Vogue Living, Habitus and Est Living, and in various international design stalwarts such as Wallpaper and Dezeen. His work resonates in both digital and print form and across numerous platforms ranging from online to large format art prints.

Having held numerous exhibitions of his diverse international collections, Derek’s photographic ensemble depicts a passionate and profound understanding of the technical and creative facets of the photographic profession.

Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail image to enlarge.

Design © 2020 Taylor Knights. All Rights Reserved.| Images © 2020 Derek Swalwell. All Rights Reserved.

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