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Gardiner House / 4site Architecture

  • Architects: 4site Architecture
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Architects: 4site Architecture
  • Project Team: Kevin Hui, Monique Choi
  • Engineers: Coulthard Shim Pty Ltd
  • Builder: A.T. Interiors & Construction Pty Ltd
  • Area: 39.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Kevin Hui

© Kevin Hui © Kevin Hui © Kevin Hui © Kevin Hui

From the architect. The existing property was typical of an early-20th century worker’s cottage, with a poorly planned series of gloomy, dysfunctional lean-to additions, no access to natural light and no direct connection to the rear yard. It did however provide two amenable bedrooms at the front and a functional, small living area. With this, the client’s brief asked for the re-inclusion of a new bathroom, laundry, kitchen and dining area into a more livable manner.

Elevations
Elevations

The difficulties that the site presented consisted in the property’s south-facing orientation, hampering direct solar access and its the limited access to private open space.

Plans
Plans

In response, the planning logic was to create a compressed centralised service core containing the bathroom and laundry, allowing a higher volume that is the kitchen/dining room to connect to the yard at the rear.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

Formally, the addition consists of two elements connected by a small hallway. The first is a white box, containing the new bathroom and laundry; the second being an open plan kitchen and dining area, a black metal clad box which is setback one meter from the boundary and reaches up over the white box for northern sunlight.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

Upon entry one is presented with a view through the house to a small courtyard given over by the one meter setback of the addition at the rear. This vista, created by a full height window at the termination of the connecting hallway gives an immediate sense of light and flow through the house. The inclusion of a side timber slot panel also provides the ability to cross-ventilate whilst providing insect screening and security, a simple and economical device that was inspired by the simplicity of 50’s Modernism.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

The transition from the existing cottage to the new addition utilises a compression and release effect in the ceiling heights. The high ceilings of the existing cottage transfers to a much lower ceiling through the connecting hallway. This compression is then released again upon entry into the kitchen/dining area. The visual shift amplifies the sense of height and openness and strengthens the delineation between the new and the old.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

The kitchen/dining room is a simple shed-like structure, a skillion roof that terminates at its apex with a clerestory window facing north. The use of this highlight window maximises the amount of sunlight, both direct and bounced off the sloping ceiling, giving the new addition a warmth and openness that overcome the constraints of the site.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

The continuous laminate kitchen bench element becomes credenza and a small work space with computer, unifying the whole kitchen/dining space as a whole.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui

The connection to the outside is amplified by the framing of the rear yard by a low, beautifully proportioned timber clad verandah that acts as another compression device before being released to the small backyard beyond.

© Kevin Hui
© Kevin Hui
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Gardiner House / 4site Architecture" 27 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accesed . <http://www.archdaily.com/171796/gardiner-house-4site-architecture/>