Melbourne, Australia – Jackson Clements Burrows Pty. Ltd.
Year built: 2009
Photography: Emma Cross
The challenge: A great location but a small 90m2 (1,000sq ft) 1930’s house and the need to retain a playing yard for three young children.
The solution: An innovative, 155m2 (1,700sq ft) addition called ‘The Trojan House’ (See below for the architect’s notes.)
“This alterations and additions project addresses a briefing requirement of providing space for a young growing family with 3 children under the age of 10.
The initial idea was to challenge the conventional ‘box on the back’ type addition with a sculptural form born of site restraints; such as the ResCode setbacks along the south boundary; the ideal internal programmatic arrangement, the desire to maintain as much back yard as possible and inspired by the rooftop topography of hips and valleys of the existing Edwardian house. Three kids bedrooms and a bathroom were placed cantilevering above the garden, above a large living space below. This programme was then wrapped in a seamless timber skin, covering roof, windows and walls.
This idea of skin is carried through to the detailing of operable timber shutters that are scattered across the façade where openings are required.
The notion of the Trojan house is reflected in the idea of an enveloping skin, a built form which contains the unexpected; where windows are disguised with shutters, and where the internal program is unknown. Internally this program is extrapolated to fit the container with kids bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and living spaces downstairs. Again an unexpected gesture, when children are not isolated in bedrooms but made to feel part of the greater internal space. A communication void that doubles as a thermal chimney allows for conversation between upstairs and the living spaces below. Visual connections can be made between the levels via the circular windows scattered along the corridor, bathroom and one of the upstairs bedrooms.
The rain screen solution optimises a passive thermal response by shading the house in summer and partially insulating the house in winter by enabling a warmer air gap between inside and outside.
At first floor level a breezeway corridor and thermal chimney void enable cross ventilation to all bedrooms as well as drawing warm air up and out of the living spaces below during summer.
On site water collection has been considered for pool restoration and garden use with 11,000L of water storage available. A grey water system has also been provided to irrigate the garden as part of the sustainability solution.
The construction technique for the addition involves a cost efficient waterproof fibre cement cladding system with timber battens and rainscreen over. The large cantilever is achieved through the construction of two large steel trusses which are embedded in the walls.
The existing house incorporates a reworked master bedroom/ensuite configuration and other minor cosmetic/maintenance works.
In summary this project is about a house that engages with childhood in a playful way, that reconciles the programmatic requirements of a growing family with an unexpected sculptural response: a Trojan house.”
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