Photo: Derek Swalwell
HOUSE WITH SAWTOOTH LIGHTS The clients wanted a second storey addition to their house located in a heritage overlay neighbourhood. When we projected the sight lines from across the street and ResCode setbacks from the side boundaries, an upper storey became unviable. The existing house is a single fronted Victorian terrace that sits on a narrow site just under 6 metres wide. A small lean-to added in the 1950s Home owner Andrea with her sons, contained a dark and almost 3 years old Christian and 5 years old foreboding kitchen and dining Alex. area, looking out to a miserable garden. Among the obvious requirement for spatial expansion, the brief also called for a change for the better in living conditions. We presented a hand drawn sketch of our proposal on an A4 piece of paper at the first design meeting. The drawing showed a silhouette section of the house with a ‘factory’ sawtooth roof at the rear. The sawtooth profile was envisaged like a void that is carved out from the universe, bringing daylight and ventilation deep into the house on a long and narrow plot of land, and creating spatial play. The three original bedrooms were retained, the 1950s lean-to was demolished, and a new addition was constructed in its place. One lengthwise boundary wall became an expansive joinery system to the entire extension, wrapping around with open shelving to a hidden laundry and bathroom area with a naturally lit shower alcove and bath. White is used throughout the house to amplify light and space. The sole use of another colour can be found where the addition connects to the original section - a simple olive-green full height curtain enclosing a compact home office and courtyard. Texture is added to the space by the clients’ own collected paraphernalia, scattered about the various shelving configurations, giving them the ownership and authorship to the house. Combined with the compact, tidy rear garden, the project is a sustainable model in its first principal – a compact, healthy, affordable and low energy house under 150sqm for a family of four.