Docker Street is a substantial alteration and addition to an existing High Victorian terrace house. The bulk of the existing house has been retained whilst elements of the secondary structure have been removed to improve the utility of the house. The existing house has been restored in a way that is sympathetic to the history of the house by making evident what is original and what is new. At the same time, elements of the original interior have been tempered to create a seamless flow between the existing house and the addition.
An important part of the works was the relocation of the entry from the front of the house to the side, so that one now enters the centre of the building. By rationalising the circulation through the house existing spaces can now be used more effectively the act of moving through the house feels very natural.
The brief for the project was to upgrade the existing house and provide new living and ancillary spaces and a separate guest wing. By positioning the guest wing at the rear of the property, a sheltered north-facing courtyard is created between the existing house and the new, giving the clients an outdoor space that can be used throughout the year. The plan is organised to provide interesting sight lines through the house, promoting a dialogue between the old and the new. The palette of materials throughout the house is very restrained, in deference to the integrity of the original house.
BE Architecture has developed a multi-disciplinary practice which draws upon the diverse skills of its staff and covers a range of disciplines including interior, industrial and landscape design. This means that a number of consultants that would normally be needed on a project of this scale are not required. However, key contributions to the project were made by the structural engineer, through the design of an economical and understated structure.
The project was cost effective because as much as possible of the existing house was retained, and the excellent structural condition of the property necessitated minimal work to the existing house. The bulk of the extension was built utilising conventional lightweight construction techniques.
The house has been designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. Insulation techniques throughout the house are above and beyond standard requirements, as the house features numerous layers of insulation, applied at each different stage of the construction. External walls feature thick frames, boosting thermal performance. Major windows are double glazed with split frames. A variety of other techniques including thermal extract fans, hydronic heating and solar hot water also minimise energy consumption. The house also features an in-ground rainwater tank used for irrigation.