Text description provided by the architects. Sorrel is a progressive extension and alteration to a small cottage on a sloping site in Paddington. The project explores the juxtaposition between historical context and contemporary architecture within a broader subtropical paradigm. In a somewhat controversial decision, the call was made to make a clear distinction between the small, original cottage and the new work, keeping their respective personalities distinct. The materials used are in stark contrast to the remnant cottage with a dominate use of concrete offering a deliberate counterpoint to the vernacular.
Behind the façade, and for reasons relating to limited mobility of one of the client’s children, the design was conceived about how to create a predominantly single-story house on a sloping site. To this end, a discreet, contemporary pavilion was added to the north of the cottage, allowing the new work to create a false topography and permitting the main living spaces to flow out to the level garden.
The result was a provocative outcome with a distinct juxtaposition between what was and what is. There is a clear dialogue between the two forms with certain datum’s and heights to the size and design of the new work. Equally, the tensions that exist between the modest cottage and the new extension are celebrated with change of scale and play of light. By creating a somewhat ambiguous dialogue (the question is often asked if these are two houses), we retain a scale of each component that honours the scale of the original cottage.
The planning of the house responds to the client’s needs of a predominately single-story home, along with close proximity between the main bedroom and their son’s bedroom. Beyond this, another bedroom wing is linked to the rest of the house, with the kitchen at the centre point. The house therefore addresses all its sleeping and living needs on the upper ground floor with only garaging, storage, office and media space on the lower floor. The site has been heavily worked to create a flat lawn that opens to the north west with the pool as the punctuation mark on the site.
This is a robust, hardwearing home intended to gracefully age and limit maintenance oriented to maximise northerly winter sun. The timber is (by desire) to be maintained. Deep eaves, excellent cross flow ventilation and a naturally lit home make for a very sustainable long-term proposition. Green roofs, substantial thermal mass, Low E glass and LED lighting and timbers complete our approach to making a more relevant and enduring home.
This house was designed to respond to the challenges the clients had experienced with their last home with regard to their child with limited mobility. This house needed to address not only these concerns but also develop their own strong interests in architecture and design. This was a very collaborative process with the result expressing a creative fusion of interests and ideas.