Austin Maynard Architects
Fitzroy, Australia
Año Del Proyecto
Casas Privadas
Peter Bennetts


Austin Maynard Architects como Arquitectos

The unfolding of a dark internal Federation Terrace into a bright, open living area was the main consideration for this growing family. The original plan produced an environment of dislocated cells coming off a long dark corridor with the kitchen far at the end. These segregated rooms discouraged communal social areas, producing fragmented social planning, in an environment devoid of natural light.

The opening of these spaces was done in a gentle manner, with minimal demolition ensuring that the main Terrace structure is maintained and celebrated. This shifting and unfolding of elevation and plan revitalizes the terrace, appearing as if it is awakening and stretching. Walls are partially removed and carpets pulled back, openings expand allowing sun to infiltrate deep into the old terrace.

The newly created environment is further revived by a coat of white paint, uplifting this previously dark space. Within these bright open space we inserted dark curved forms. These inserts read separate and impermanent against the static heavier presence of the Terrace. Their seemingly temporary and lithe nature do not encroach on these newly opened spaces, allowing them to maintain their flexibility. The kitchen bench and the island bench demonstrate the capacity of smaller singular element’s ability to help define a space, without needing a physical barrier.

The renovation is not simply about ‘gutting’ a space and replacing it with an updated/modern transplant, but rather it is about harmoniously working with the existing, and ensuring that the presence and memory of the terrace does not become secondary. The entirety is completed in a modest, durable materials palette. The removal of the old carpet, exposes beautiful timber flooring, the joinery is finished with stainless steel plates, and the kitchen/living and sunroom flooring is finished in a concrete screed, for durability, cleaning purposes and also adding thermal mass to the home. The new bathroom is completed in a homogenous soft green vinyl making it perfect for the wear and tear of the growing family. This green vinyl extends up the walls, and falls short of ceiling height, where glass allows secondary light from the adjoining pantry and circulation area to fall into this hidden room, reassuring that the all these spaces are part of a larger space rather than a series of smaller spaces.

The depths of the Terrace are connected to the outside environment by new timber decking leading from the kitchen/living area out into the yard. A timber bench also reaches out from the back sunroom deep into the external courtyard. This room, immersed in sunlight, is used by the children as a play space, however the timber bench can transform into a daybed converting the space into a guest bedroom.

This versatility of elements is also reflected in the custom designed kitchen island bench and cooking area. The island bench becomes the social hub of the house, its dual bench heights and orientation allow it to be simultaneously used as kitchen/preparation area and also sitting/dining area.

The old corridor space, now only defined by a study, is the transition zone between entry and the private spaces beyond. Beyond this threshold, formally segregated programs freely flow between the living/dining spaces.

The design allows the family to have flexibility and ease, increasing strategic links between spaces and producing a plan that looks outward and stretches embracing the large courtyard, absorbing the abundance of natural light and fresh air now accessible.

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