Photographer- Simon Pendal
Conceived as a vessel within a vessel, this substantial house addition high on Gooseberry Hill overlooking Midland to the north, holds a dining room, living room, reading niche and study. It is configured as an inwardly spiraling movement that collects experiences of the surrounding landscape at its edges, the sky above and significant spatial and scale changes along its way. Movement from the original house to the extension occurs through a low connecting space with walls, floor and ceiling lined in timber. All but the floor are painted white while much of one wall is translucent allowing the connecting room to be softly and evenly lit by day and night. Past this point a low-scaled dining room addresses the landscape to the east and connects to the horizon and expanse of the view over Midland to the north. The living room is then found to the left and the eye is drawn upwards to the six metre high pitched ceiling and principal oculus instilling the space with awe. Beyond in the far corner is the small reading niche, a low and tight space which addresses a south facing courtyard and allows a place to locate a comfortable chair and a built-in bookcase. Spiraling further inward, the final space encountered is the central study which is fully enclosed and lit from above by a secondary and smaller oculus borrowing light from the principal oculus of the main living room. Sitting at the desk within the study a small timber shutter can be opened and directs the occupant’s attention across the space of the dining room, through a substantial window at the building’s edge to an existing silver princess eucalypt in the distance.
Environmental Approach: The existing house is north-facing and receives good passive heating and cooling as a result. The new extension uses reverse-brick veneer construction to limit heat-load within the building while allowing the internal thermal mass to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter. All walls and roof areas use a combination of bulk fibreglass insulation and reflective foil air-cell cavity insulation. Light enters the main space through an oculus in the peak of the main roof, eliminating the need for electric lights to be used by day. Additionally the oculus roof light exhausts heat build-up via remote control operation. All glazing is Low-E glass for containing winter warmth.