Midnight Blue brick tiles from Robertson's Building Products Pty Ltd were used on the façade of a home extension in Kew, Victoria for both aesthetic and practical reasons.

The stunning modern extension to the double storey home was built on a largely unused and oversized outdoor area. Pitch Architecture and Developments transformed this space into two rooms – a new formal dining space indoors, off the original kitchen, effortlessly extending into a smaller, yet highly functional outdoor lounge area with a built-in barbeque.

Built on the northern boundary, the house presented key challenges for Bo Chu, the creative director at Pitch Architecture, mainly in attracting light and maximising privacy from neighbours. Chu wanted to create “an open, bright and airy minimalism extension that contrasted with the existing home”.

To allow light into the new space, an elevated box made of translucent polycarbonate walls was created by raising a section of the ceiling, extending across the dining area into the outdoor lounge. The upper walls softly diffuse and filter light, and give the extension a lantern-like appearance from outside.

“The reason we call it the Lantern House is that the client wanted to have high ceilings and a lot of light coming through," says Alex Chan, business director, Pitch Architecture. "Because the next door neighbour was a double-storey house we needed to have the roof a lot higher to let light in. So, it’s like a lantern on the existing house.”

The architects used a palette of refined and raw natural materials that not only contrasted but also harmoniously paired the new extension with the existing house. Materials used for the extension included marble and glass inside, natural oak veneer panelling spanning the two rooms, and concrete paving and brick tiles on the outside.

The Midnight Blue brick tiles chosen for the façade combined great visual appeal with high practicality. The brick tiles matched well with the render of the existing house and the oak on the new extension. The quality and unique texture of the tiles also gave the genuine impression of traditional brick. That the brick tiles also met structural and budget considerations was an added bonus for the Lantern House.

“The great thing about the brick tiles is that because the tile is much lighter than traditional brick, we were able to use the original floor slab, without having additional structural reinforcement, reducing the structural complexity of the build and cost to the client,” Chu said.

Photographer: Ben Hosking