- Architect In Charge:Kris Keen
Text description provided by the architects. The heritage listed 1904 house had undergone numerous renovations over the years. Our clients, wanted to upgrade the existing house, add in a secondary garage, add a small studio space and upgrade the landscaping with a reasonable but modest budget. We gave them a sketch design that met their brief which they were happy with but in seeing the true potential of the site we went out on a limb and gave them another option demonstrating the full potential of the site and opening their eyes to a new way of living. Not really having greatly thought of the alternates or possibilities, our clients were blow away by the proposal and it snowballed from there. We basically reworked the whole house and reoriented the spaces to accommodate a growing family and a more modern lifestyle that was specifically tailored to our clients. The final budget ended up significantly higher but our clients could see the real value of what we were proposing and were happy to revisit and increase the budget. I truly believe it’s an architects job to go above and beyond to help our clients realise the true value and potential of their site. Often clients are unaware of the possibilities or, might need a little nudge to help them to reconsider any preconceptions they might have. At the end of the day, clients engage us for our opinions and experience but a house should first and foremost be for our clients, not our egos. These were dream clients too, nearly everything we threw at them (within reason) they took on board. They gave us their absolute trust which was somewhat daunting but we had absolute respect for, as did the builder and all the trades on site. Ultimately I believe their trust, backing and passion in all the people behind the project created such an amazing and unique home that we are all so proud to have been involved in.
To describe the extension itself, it’s a generous light filled space that centres around family interaction, entertaining and the environment with the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. The aesthetic has a modern industrial vibe but with a touch of warmth and softness from the materiality and curved forms. Our belief is the mock reproduction of heritage buildings is futile so there is a clear and defined contrast from the ‘old’ part of the house. Each area holds architectural merit in its own right and its own era.
With all the glass and skylights and high ceilings, the amount of light enters the house and the play of light around the house is just beautiful. It’s just such an amazing open and light filled space to be in.
The curved glass sliding door is a real feature and focal point. Everyone really loves having a go at sliding it. We also get asked about the timber a lot as it’s a very dominate - yet soft and textural - feature. It’s a Burnt Ash (thermally modified) cladding and we designed it in a random pattern to create some interest then deepened the tones with a rich dark ebony stain. We love the off form concrete the most, its raw and industrial but the curve really softens it. It’s such a permanent and unforgiving material that there is always a lot of stress when it’s being poured and then when the formwork gets stripped everyone holds their breaths. As a final finish, a lot of effort went into getting everything just right and to everyone’s credit the builder did an amazing job.