The Cressy Road house is an addition to an existing heritage bluestone farmhouse designed for a mature couple upgrading the existing facilities. Since the owners acquired the property 15 years ago, the farm has undergone a process of adaptive change to the client’s lifestyles concluding with this contemporary piece of architecture.
The original dwelling, typical of Victorian era Homesteads, was erected around 1890 featuring local bluestone walls and timber filigree-decorated verandas with a dominant zincalume roof. The design of the new house is driven by the site conditions and a desire to achieve a sensitive yet abstracted dialogue between old and new. The simple form of the extension extrudes the plan form of the old house and a striking visual contrast, yet reinforcing materiality is established – most visible from the main road.
For the owners, practicality, comfort and low maintenance were the key principles to the design brief along with a desire to minimize the number of materials used to achieve high quality zero maintenance finishes, whilst fitting within a tight budget. A single external material - Zincalume ribbed cladding, echoes the roof of the old house and is used to clad the entire form of walls, hipped roof and skylight. Polished concrete flooring is used throughout the new wing as a durable, versatile and cost-effective material.
The new single storey wing, all on one level, is designed to be the main living space for the owners. Dictated by the need for accessibility and to adapt to the site, a ramped connection is turned into the new main access to the property linking the old and new buildings.
The square shaped floor plan maximizes functionality through the elimination of dedicated internal circulation. The one-bedroom wing is planned around the gathering spaces shared between old and new. A central sky lit atrium at the center is the dividing element between public and private and acts as a ‘hinge’ linking all spaces. It also carries sunlight to internal spaces. A feature door facing the living room and the use of birch ply ceiling to the main kitchen-living area ceiling bring warmth to the internal spaces.
A large full width horizontal window in the kitchen overlooks the surrounding crops and monitors the arrival of new visitors. A verandah facing the orchard along the north façade provides an outdoor dining area accessed directly from the kitchen. At the rear, a secondary entrance porch provides a ‘dump’ for farm clothing and provides external access to the bathroom, garage and laundry providing easy access to an adjacent but hidden clothes line.
The location of an original large underground water tank is paved in radiating brickwork depicting the original site as a remnant form becoming an entry feature adjacent the front door. The red brick paving, together with the revealed original bluestone wall behind the entry glazed wall create a contemporary ‘lace’ knitting the modern and the old. The couple’s wish to retain their old cooking AGA has been the focal point on the kitchen design.