Cut Paw Paw
Peter Bennetts

Cut Paw Paw

Austin Maynard Architects as Architects

What? Cut Paw Paw is a renovation and extension to a double fronted weatherboard home in Seddon, Victoria, Australia.


Name? Cut Paw Paw is the name of the parish in which the house presides, and a name that theowners liked very much. It’s weird, hence we like it too.


Why? Construction sites are fascinating and often very beautiful. When wandering the street and stumbling upon an anonymous house in construction we all get excited by the possibilities. We all imagine what the finished building could be like. The site holds so much promise when there is nothing more than a timber or steel frame. It is a jungle gym, a relic, and a skeleton full of play and imagination. Often it is when a building is at its most beautiful.


All too soon the excitement, the imagination and the potential comes crashing down as the reality of the finished building becomes apparent. When the anonymous house is roofed, clad and finished it is often a disappointment as the banality of the McMansion emerges. The beautiful skeleton that held such potential and required such imagination has been buried beneath the ordinary, the obvious and the banal. The home will not again be interesting until it eventually begins to crumble and decay.


Cut Paw Paw is a structure that is deliberately incomplete. Derek and Michelle, the owners, asked that the house be “ridiculously inside-out”. To accomplish this we not only employed tested and successful ideas such as sliding walls, bifold doors and decks, we also left the building incomplete. The central space, between the dining area and the studio, is an unclad frame within and surrounded by garden. It is both inside and outside. It is both a new building and an old ruin. It is both garden and home.


Sustainable? Like all of our building, sustainability is at the core of Cut Paw Paw. Rather than simply extruding the existing structure we have run the new form along the southern boundary so that it is soaked with sunlight. The openings and windows have been designed to optimise passive solar gain, thereby drastically reducing demands on mechanical heating and cooling. All windows are double glazed. White roofs drastically reduce urban heat sink and demands on air conditioning. We have a pond on the face of the largest north facing opening. While providing a home for fish and plants, the pond also serves as a mechanism to passively cool the house through natural evaporative cooling. Water tanks and solar panels have their place as they do on all of our projects. High performance insulation is everywhere, even in the walls of the original house. If the structure were ever to be removed it could be disassembled and reused rather than being demolished.

Project Spotlight
Product Spotlight
News
MVRDV imagines mixed-use Pixel development in Abu Dhabi as an oyster
23 Jul 2024 News
MVRDV imagines mixed-use Pixel development in Abu Dhabi as an oyster

International architectural practice MVRDV has completed Pixel, a mixed-use development project in A... More

Atelier L’Abri’s design for minimal wooden pavilion embraces sustainable regeneration and self-sufficiency
22 Jul 2024 News
Atelier L’Abri’s design for minimal wooden pavilion embraces sustainable regeneration and self-sufficiency

Montreal-based architecture and construction studio Atelier L’Abri has completed the Melba Pav... More

Seattle’s Maritime Innovation Center: A catalyst for the Blue Economy
19 Jul 2024 News
Seattle’s Maritime Innovation Center: A catalyst for the Blue Economy

The Port of Seattle recently broke ground on the new Maritime Innovation Center at Fishermen’s... More

Monumental sculptures appear to embrace and support Fragment Apartments in Prague
19 Jul 2024 News
Monumental sculptures appear to embrace and support Fragment Apartments in Prague

Prague-based creative studio QARTA Architektura has completed the development of an apartment comple... More

Key recent projects by Baumschlager Eberle Architekten
19 Jul 2024 News
Key recent projects by Baumschlager Eberle Architekten

Baumschlager Eberle Architekten is an international architectural firm known for its contextual inte... More

XISUI Design creates serene woven metal pavilion inspired by bird nest and eggshell structures
18 Jul 2024 Innovations
XISUI Design creates serene woven metal pavilion inspired by bird nest and eggshell structures

Shanghai-based XISUI Design is a multidisciplinary studio with a team of architects, installation ar... More

Kinder Land Bridge and Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Prairie: A Green Oasis in Houston’s Urban Heart
18 Jul 2024 News
Kinder Land Bridge and Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Prairie: A Green Oasis in Houston’s Urban Heart

Memorial Park, an iconic urban greenspace in Houston, Texas, has long been valued for its vast trail... More

Perkins&Will designs collaborative London-based head office building and “living lab”
17 Jul 2024 News
Perkins&Will designs collaborative London-based head office building and “living lab”

Global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will designed the London-based European head office... More