LocationNeutral Bay, Australia
Structural EngineeringSDA Structures
Text description provided by the architects. There was nothing remarkable about the brief; full of common needs in this market such as more living space, an extra bedroom, a nicer master suite, better connection to the exterior zone, somewhere to work from, etc. The magic happened when the clients embraced their own journey and accepted that in simplicity, they would find their most exceptional outcome.
That is investing their emotions and hard saved dollars into something a little bit more considered, they would achieve the home that would bring a smile to their faces daily.
The brief made mention of two other important design clues: 1)respecting the context and the neighbors with whom they had lived beside and shared the good times over the years and 2) retaining the worthwhile fabric of the existing dwelling. Simple ideas, but generous in their ultimate influence of the design approach and therefore the form of the finished home.
Intuition told us impact to the neighbors could be overcome by not increasing the parameters of the existing form. We also knew the existing home had good bones, just a clumsy layout, so we gave it the love it needed and embraced a more simple approach to circulating from front to back.
Extruding the section of the existing home but deleting everything between, to create an open Living zone was conceived and embraced by a collaborative design team. The rear façade was completely glazed such that the new Living zone is visually as big as the view to the back fence. Architecture and design is an industry of problem-solving.
The Extruded House was a collection of minds all working together to focus on the quality of the solution, not the quantity. The project did not add lots of square meters, it just made more sense of the existing ones. Now a generous volume sits atop a modest footprint, yet without burdening the site or the context and the emphasis was put into the finished product.
The form of the extruded shape was constructed in off-form concrete, challenging the yardstick of fabrics belonging to the federation home, yet offering a calm contrast to its historical embellishments. A strong dialogue was created between the two forms by virtue of their sharing of shape, but their materiality serves to remind us of their respective moment in time.
With this in mind, sight lines exist between the forms of the old and the new, and apart from connecting the interiors to the luscious landscape of the rear yard, they remind the owners of where they are now and where they’ve come from. Within the new concrete, shell sits a timber clad wall, being the trace of the old home as it stood at the rear of the block. Where the old roof changed shape, an opportunity arose to incorporate highlight glazing providing southern light with a view to the existing roof.
Being solid concrete construction, with wall cavities, the shell of the home provides instant thermal mass. The blackfin at the rear elevation controls the direct sunlight such that lower winter sun is controlled and harnessed by the thermal mass of the concrete floor, The higher summer sun is repelled from the interior such that no direct heat gain occurs on the hotter days.
The double height space of the new Living zone is exhausted via a solar ventilator incorporated behind a bespoke timber grille. Rainwater is harnessed and recycled for use in the gardens. An abundance of natural light in both the new and existing spaces means there is little need for artificial lighting and therefore energy consumption during daylight hours.