LocationRed Hill, Australia
Architect in ChargeTownsend + Associates Architects
Design ArchitectBruce Townsend
Project ArchitectAlessandro Rossi
Building ContractorEwer Constructions
Structural EngineerNorthrop Engineers
Landscape ConsultantHarris Hobbs Landscaping
Lighting ConsultantJohn Liston & Ian Aitken
Building CertifierBCA Certifiers
Main manufacturers/suppliersColorbond Longline Roofing and Cladding.
Text description provided by the architects. In the 1960’s, Architect Rudi Krastins designed a modest house on a steep block in the establishing Canberra suburb of Red Hill. Forty years later T+AA were commissioned to transform the existing structure into a gracious new house with modern living amenity. The brief would take 14 years to complete over 2 stages and uses masonry, timber, glass and steel to reshape a response to the brief and an outstanding outlook over central Canberra.
Stage 1 tackled the rear view side; providing living and entertainment spaces - both indoor and outdoor, a serious kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. Expansive elevated decks are connected to a lower pool level by a steel and timber stair. Steel is used to achieve large spans and cantilevers and be expressive of a new structural and tectonic clarity.
The Stage 2 brief was focused on the street side and involved a new entry and gallery, guest suite, courtyard, study, garage and landscaping. It was desired that the house exhibit a generous and animated form to the street. The gallery links the new work with the first stage – the gallery using a south facing saw-tooth roof form to bring diffuse light and ventilation deep into the interior.
The new roof forms are exaggerated in height to compensate for the house being set down from street level and to screen the large original roof. The new street elevation is scaled to provide a well-proportioned street presence and explores the juxtapositions of light and dark, solid and void. The warm tones of the brushbox soffit act as a lantern to the street and continues the use of this signature material throughout the house.
Gallery walls and ceilings are detailed to minimize shadows and to disperse the soft south light. The repeated rooflights are supported on slender steelwork, forward of the rendered gallery walls. The steel columns frame the openings and define the display walls. The ‘slippage’ between roof forms and the supporting steelwork has a dynamic effect on the space.
The steel is also used as part of an innovative art hanging method utilizing Rare Earth magnets to provide total flexibility for the ‘hang’ without having to patch walls.
Lighting is all low energy and the gallery is lit through a continuous frieze of LED wall fittings that flood the spaces with even ambient light.
Ewer Constructions, builders for stage 2 brought great skill and sensitivity to a complex project and their team of outstanding subcontractors delivered a superb quality product. And, essential to every good project, the clients remained engaged and active throughout.
This project incorporates the following environmentally sustainable design initiatives:
-Double brick construction with rigid, foil backed insulation fixed in the centre of a wide cavity and isolating the outer brick skin from the interior skin. This allows the thermal mass of the interior brick skin to be available to moderate internal temperature fluctuations.
-The concrete floor slabs are insulated around the perimeter and edges and incorporates gas-fired cast-in hydronic heating.
-All window and door glazing is sealed- unit double glazed.
-Natural cross ventilation is promoted through high level remote controlled awnings and the linear courtyard.
-Highly insulated roofs and upper walls.
-Roof water harvestings and storage for garden watering and swimming pool top-up.
-Solar hot water heater with gas- fired booster.
-Re-use of as much as possible of the original house fabric and structure to respect and utilise the embodied energy in these elements.
-Provision of roof mounted 2.4 kw PV array.
-Energy efficient lights.