Project Team: David Barr and Stephen Hicks
Project Status: Design Development

For clients that professed not to be gardeners, but who wanted their house to engage more with its surroundings, we proposed a modest house extension within a wild field of native plants and flowers. Constrained by council heritage requirements that the addition be largely invisible from the street, and adouble-width block that opened to the south, the design is primarily composed of a new living space that ‘twists’ to frame a view towards existing mature trees. A bespoke furniture piece follows the curved form internally, with built in desk, TV cabinet and seating directing activity towards the room’s glazed end.

The addition is raised slightly above the landscape, with the large bay window seeming to float above the ground, symbolically at a remove from the overgrown garden that we envisioned for the space. A covered external area steps down to a formal courtyard space to the north and winding garden paths to the south, a dichotomy that reflects our client’s ambiguous relationship with their site. 

A kitchen and dining space within the existing house opens to the garden and courtyard, with the new windows in the existing brickwork identified by expressed shading and screening devices that also function as casual bench seating. These benches offer another way in which the clients can inhabit their garden, sitting outside but at a slight remove from the ground. 

Clad in painted weatherboard, the extension’s material palette is conservative (as befits the council’s heritage guidelines) and economical, but offset by an unusual form of curves and angles. A shed sits in the garden, seemingly sliced from the main extension, a crafted object that belies its quotidian function.