LocationAlbert Park, Australia
Structural EngineerAdams Consulting Engineers
Building SurveyorRed Textas Building Surveyors
Geotechnical EngineerHardrock Geotechnical
Text description provided by the architects. The Merton House was designed by Thomas Winwood Architecture in collaboration with Kontista + Co. the project extends the existing Victorian house on a corner site. Reinterpreting the bay windows, scale and arrangement of internal spaces creates a contemporary kitchen and living spaces at the rear of the house.
The dark stained curvilinear timber wall continues the line of the facade and creates a shadow of the original house that sits discreetly in the garden. A large curved glass window, two large sliding windows and bench seats in the kitchen and living areas create contemporary bay window arrangements where the residents can sit in the sun and view the garden.
The positioning of windows allows sun to enter from morning to late afternoon into all living spaces. Filtered through trees and entering from different windows into the same space creates continually changing light conditions marking the passage of time throughout the day and tracing the functional arrangement of spaces.
Respecting the heritage character of the area the extension is seen from the street as a band of dark timber allowing the existing house and landscaping to define the primary character of the property. Thickened walls gives the addition a sense of mass, create deep reveals in the openings, conceals a storeroom and houses the fireplace.
A new slate roof and wide oak floorboards throughout the entire house tie together the old and the new and connects the once separate flat and garage to the rear of the property consolidating various additions to the house into one highly functional and unified dwelling.
The open plan living and new kitchen reorient the living spaces and replaces a series of separate rooms to allow light, air and a strengthened connection with the garden. The interiors are enriched by the light, shadow and views of the adjacent gardens through precise orientation and design of new openings. Quality materials and highly considered detailing continue the appreciation of craft and materiality visible in the existing house.
Using high performance double-glazing, concealed electric blinds and heavily insulated walls and ceilings the new arrangement of living spaces creates a more desirable orientation to the north and captures the east and western sun. Skylights over the study and in the bathroom provides light in once darker areas. Low VOC paint, LED lighting, FSC certified engineered floor boards and energy efficient appliances and tap ware improve the sustainability of the existing house.
Working closely with the builder during construction achieved a high level of detail and finish to create a worthy addition. Integrating the new with the old through the continuation of a spatial sequence and harmonious scale of spaces.
Respecting, reinterpreting and revitalising the heritage character in a contemporary yet complimentary design reinforces what is exceptional about both the old and the new. Through a considered study of the existing Victorian house the project is an innovative reinterpretation of the qualities and characteristics that are so endearing about the original.
The mass, form and presence of the original continues through the dark stained curvilinear timber wall that is simultaneously a gentle and discreet gesture yet deliberate and confident.
The Merton House was the winner of the residential category in the 2014 Architeam Awards.