Text description provided by the architects. The project involves significant alterations and additions to two existing Victorian-era workers cottages in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain, Australia. Each of the properties are owned by different generations of the same family and our response investigated the interconnectedness and independence of each of these families.
Architecturally the buildings are developed as a sequence of carefully unfolding scenes – much like miniaturised landscapes of traditional Chinese gardens. Throughout spaces are organised into a series of bending and tilting movements that carefully control privacy whilst remaining interconnected. A sense of continuity between spaces is further developed by a gradually evolving palette of materials that alternates the uses of timber and brick. The result is a highly animated and adaptive range of experiences; from quite contemplative spaces to festive communal spaces, all contained within a singular ‘home-body’ that is capable of supporting the modern day complexities of a large family.
The importance of this development is that it achieves both an independence and interconnection between neighbouring properties, which as the number of shared households continue to decline whilst our cities continue to densify, is a relationship that will become increasingly important to achieve.