Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Haines House in Sydney, Australia by Christopher Polly Architect
January 5th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Christopher Polly Architect
Conceptual Framework – The proposal provides a model for grafting a singular substantial volume to an existing single storey semi-detached dwelling while capturing a centrally retained bathroom within the new volume, enabling old and new fabric to enmesh a unique spatial sequence along the length of the dwelling counter intuitive to popular planning methods – to improve the physical and visual relationships to the new rear garden, while harnessing improved access to sunlight, natural ventilation and views to borrowed landscapes and sky beyond.
Built Form to Context – The generation of the design entailed two formal strategies:
1. A clear response to place in three acts involved extrapolating the line of the rear roof plane of the immediate adjoined dwelling in section to generate the singular roof and ceiling form, extruding this in plan to the rear alignment of this adjoined dwelling, followed by extension of an existing low roof level along the unadjoined edge to the new rear footprint.
2. The retention of the original front dwelling and existing bathroom enabled old and new fabric to stitch an alternating sequence of compression and expansion, enfolding a series rooms from the narrow hall and front cellular 3-room layout, to open release in a newly accommodated Living room, followed by a compressed scale shift and downward change in level through an almost secreted passage into the heightened rear openness of a Dining, Kitchen and second Living space.
Interior Resolution – The low roof height served to establish a datum that scribed the alignment of all elements wrapped around the interior of the rear volume, setting the heights of the rear steel door head and sliding doors, timber board wall and laundry unit linings and new wall heights of the retained bathroom. Fixed highlight glazing finely connects these newly established bathroom wall heights with the singular ceiling plane, enclosing it from surrounding spaces while borrowing light from three directions.
An arrangement of fine steel plate supports and highlight windows march along the entire low roof, bridging the high and low roofs and wrapping to the rear to enable access to natural ventilation, views to neighbouring landscapes, sky and natural light from somewhat challenged eastern and southern orientations – while pocket concealed sliding doors extend the living spaces onto a roofed terrace that directly connects to the enclosed private garden beyond.
Program Resolution – The provision of two living spaces enables vital separation of adult and children functions. The rear open plan volume provides a ‘day’ space for meals preparation, eating and expansive enjoyment of the rear garden, while the upper living room provides an ‘evening’ space for watching TV, reading and separation from utilities. A third room as a study provides flexibility for a future bedroom. A long ‘working wall’ accommodates a kitchen and ample joinery storage, extending outside to incorporate a second toilet.
Cost/Value Outcome – A sustainably modest footprint was provided that gathers within it a consciously retained bathroom in response to the client brief and budget. Singular high and low roof forms established a consistent cross section throughout the entire rear volume while inexpensive strip lights employed in a variety of concealed and semi-exposed applications built in a flexibly unique arrangement of lighting configurations for changing patterns of use.
Sustainability – A sizeable portion of the existing dwelling was retained including the existing bathroom. Use was made of grey toned glazing, substantial wall, roof & ceiling insulation for comfortable internal temperatures without air conditioning, a concrete floor for thermal mass, recycled Blackbutt flooring, energy efficient lights & appliances and water-saving fittings.
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