With a growing family and the need to accommodate visiting grandparents space was at a premium in the unassuming red brick house situated on the edge of the central business district of Bendigo.
Located on a major road close to the city center and abutting a public reserve to the rear, architect’s Johanne and Joost van Bree saw a real opportunity.
Creating additional space on a limited site without adversely affecting the surrounding context proved challenging. Limited space, limited finances, and of course the professional integrity which was at stake resulted in many conversations evaluating not only the design brief but also the future of the family and the associated quality of living.
Early in the design phase is was apparent that the building needed to deal with what in effect were two frontages, the existing street and the public reserve to the rear. As a portion of the existing backyard was to see the footprint of the new building mass it was important for Johanne and Joost to ensure the external spaces were not compromised at the cost of additional floor area.
The spatial brief consisted of a new kitchen, informal living area, two bedrooms and an additional bathroom. Externally the spaces needed to interact with the internal areas either visually or physically via windows, courtyards and decks. Furthermore external storage space was desired.
In essence the design evolved from the two frontages of the site. What was quite an unassuming post war house did in itself have a beauty which should not be destroyed for the sake of the new build. For this reason the existing house has remained, on the whole, untouched.
A glazed link was used to link the new and the old. This maintained a respectful co-existence and was also seen as an opportunity to maximize the internal \ external connection by introducing large glazed sliding doors which would link a multifunctional living space to the deck and courtyard on either side of the block.
To cater for the spatial requirements of additional bedrooms and living spaces a double story solution was introduced. This would limit the footprint of the new extension to approximately 80m2. The second storey offered sufficient height to gain views of the surrounding areas, including the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
As the new build addressed the public reserve with its well-established peppercorn and gum trees the selection of timber as the main cladding material was a natural response. This too offset the new building form from the existing 50-year-old red brick dwelling.
Evolving from a simple timber box, windows were introduced to articulate the forms and highlight the views from inside. Special consideration was also given to the orientation of the windows to maximize passive solar design principles.
A palette of predominantly western red cedar offset with dark commercial window framing, polished concrete and minimal white joinery was chosen to compliment the simple floor plan. The cedar was given special attention by introducing the external cladding material internally to consolidate the concept of a timber box.