Regulalry I feature and document a project that Ive recently worked on. Usually the project chosen is not necessarily architecturally or aesthetically outstanding, but instead is one that is unique and challenging. Sometimes the uniqueness is brought about by its unusual design and brief, and sometimes the challenges is the nature of the site we're working with.
This month I look at a residence in Bexley NSW I designed over two years ago. The building was only recently completed and the client finally was able to send me some photos of the finished product.
The clients brief was to simply provide more living space. The client had no real ideal how to add to this building without distrurbing the architectural language of this unique building. Typical of late victorian and federation homes, the existing layout was a defined by a central wide arrival hall leading to the rear of the home. Bedrooms came of this hall either side. at the rear of the home was the kitchen and dining/loung. Their wasnt much living space in this home.
Luckily the building was not heritage listed or within a heritage conservation zone which can bring along with it a whole list of difficulties. The client bought the house because of her love for all thing old, including this building. She was insistent that the facade of the building remained. This meant that any new work was to occur at the rear of the home, however their was little room at the rear to work with. Another challenge with trying to expand this building was the fact that much of the originaly part of the house was just that, original. Painfully and beautifully restored.
The way ahead
After some discussions with the client we decided the only way was to go up, with a new storey at the rear of the home. This portion of the home was rather confederated with a number of small addition made over the years and the new works would prove to be a great opportunity to consolidated those existing spaces.
Adding a new storey above a home with a very distinct language can proove a little diffucult and any attempts to replicate what's existing is never a good idea. After a number of design sketches and computer modelling I finally came up with a scheme which I though was respectful but also current.
The design called for some modern materials, such as steel and colourbond, while drawing upon some venacular Australiana language. A verandah wrapped around a central living space was the focal point of the design. The verandah served both a functional role and as an aesthetic mediator.
The verandah was kept shallow and open to the north, to capture the suns warm winter rays. To the east, where the sun is low and harsh on a summers afternoon, the verandah is deep with operable cedar louvres panels.
The side street is where the new addition is be most visible. The steel beam over the existing masonry wall draws a distinct line between the old and new while the verandah with its light cedar louvres makes a modern statement. The rooline is deliberately kept low to reduce its imposition and the overall scale.
Internally, some of the existing walls were removed to create a better flow and open up the main living spaces. An opening was created between the existing kitchen and bedroom three, and beroom three was converted into a dining room.
The new first floor addition was receive well by the client, however she wasnt entirely happy with the fact that only 1 bedroom was included in the new first floor addition. With such a tigh space to work with, I looked at the possibility of utilising the large roof cavity under the existing tiled roof. The client was little concerned with this. But after I inspected the roof cavity I was please to see that the way the roof was built, resupporting the structure would be straight forward for a competent carpenter. To ensure that the new room inside the roof cavity would receive enough light and would have adequate headroom, a dormer window would need be needed.
After some reassurance and photo montages, the client was hapy to proceed with the roof conversion.