This project involves the subdivision of an inner city block in Marrickville into 2 torrens titled properties, and the construction of 2 semi detached houses as contemporary infill development. The houses have different plans to suit the site’s orientation and the clients brief for a new house to live in and a house to rent or sell to subsidise the construction costs. The project acts as a model for small scale urban consolidation at a scale that is sensitive to the existing streetscape housing pattern, built form and neighbourhood amenity.
The floor and ceiling levels have been modulated to create a series of interlocking spaces yielding to the aspect and light to maximise the perception of space. Spaces are carved to provide a backdrop to the owner’s eclectic collection of furniture and artwork culminating in a gallery like living room space opening out to an elevated deck and yard. Skylights and mezzanine bedroom spaces blur the boundaries of the central living area and provide light and ventilation to the compact building footprint.
Simple, cost effective construction materials add a layer of texture to the design and comply with acoustic building requirements under the airport flight path. The external building form has been carved to include negative spaces including; the entry verandah, covered courtyard and covered rear deck. These spaces are expressed through material or colour variation.
Passive environmental design principals of orientation, daylight and cross ventilation underpin the design. Bricks salvaged from the existing house have been used to construct the central party wall, and these have been partly painted to provide a layer of texture and pattern to the interior. Recycled timber floors have been used in the living area, marmoleum in the kitchen and coia carpet for the upper level.
The project was Highly Commended in the Marrickville Medal for Conservation and Heritage from Marrickville Council 2012 and received a Residential Architecture Award in the NSW AIA Architecture Awards 2012.
NSW AIA Jury Citation:
This house is one of a semi-detached pair of houses designed by the architect. Contrary to convention, the compact plan into two deceptively simple north-south facing spines. The outer spine contains the bedroom and service spaces, and the inner spine accommodates the living rooms.
The living spaces and a delightful series of highly articulated, single and double height spaces - a low colourful kitchen, composed or artfully composed flat-packed joinery components: a built in dining area nestled into the base of a split-level floor plate: a cosy nook around a gas fireplace; and a vertically proportioned living space overlooking the rear garden. Meticulously located skylights illuminate the centre of the deep space.
The fine grain of the interior extends to the exterior spaces. The courtyard is encircled by a playful arrangement of casement windows and roof overhangs. In the rear garden clever use has been made of the neighbours's wonderfully weathered corrugated iron boundary wall, which forms a backdrop to a sequence of decks, decks and planters.
The work is a sophisticated balance between the architects strong architectural language and the requirement for the project to provide a setting for the owners extensive collection of contemporary artwork and furniture. The walls throughout the house are left raw or are selectively painted white to allow the artwork and furniture to take centre stage.
Marrickville House 2 is a richly layered and accomplished work.