A fine example of lateral thinking, this residence is a skilful manipulation of a heritage-listed home, the architects creating what they term an ‘inverted terrace house’.

IN BRIEF

Build an extension of a heritage-listed Balmain terrace house, suitable for the owners, a retired couple. After the existing terrace caved in, the brief became to completely redevelop the site, while keeping in character with the historic street front.

ARCHITECT’S WORDS

The Skylight House reinterprets a traditional Victorian terrace house. Two fluid horizontal planes have been inserted within the party walls; one forming a ground floor plane mediating the natural ground levels along the site; and a second along the ceiling line, which is fragmented to permit sunlight into the length of the building.

The brief for the project was alterations and additions to the existing dwelling to incorporate three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a new kitchen within the existing fa├žade.

The lack of light to the ground floor lounge room and rear of the site also needed to be addressed in the renovation. Our response was to flip the floor plan; the dark introverted lounge room of the existing dwelling was relocated to the first floor, and the bedrooms to the ground. This change facilitated the exploration of the roof and ceiling planes as spatial dividers and southfacing funnels for light, providing a continuous level of illumination across the living, dining, and kitchen levels, and into the rear of the site. The bedrooms are located on the levels below where the light levels and outlook are less critical.

The floor plane has been cut out around a central courtyard containing an endemic Banksia Integrifolia. The floor steps and tilts along the ground plane, defining each space. On a third upper floor, the floor plane tilits on each edge to form a timber tray housing the master bedroom among the branches of the canopy of the tree.

The material palette is a simple combination of raw concrete, white walls and spotted gum joinery, highlighted with a series of traditional Victorian paint colours to complement the neighbours terrace wall, which forms the backdrop to the living areas and bedrooms of the house.

ACCOLADES

• 2011 Australian Institute of Architects, NSW Chapter Awards - Residential Architecture Award – Alterations and Additions

PRODUCTS

ROOF
ARC METAL ROOFING
RHEINZINK

EXTERNAL LOUVRES
VENTAL AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
RETRACTABLE ALUMINIUM LOUVRES

TIMBER DECKING
BORAL TIMBER
JARRAH

FLOOR
CONCRETE ARTISANS
POLISHED CONCRETE

CARPET
CAVALIER BREMWORTH
ELYSIUM ‘TRANQUIL’

TIMBER STRIP FLOORING
BORAL TIMBER
SPOTTED GUM

VERANDAH TILES
THE RENDITIONS CORPORATION, ‘FITZROY’ PATTERN WITH DOUBLE-STRIP INFILL

BATHROOM WALL TILES
ARTEDOMUS, INAX ‘FORMAT’ MIXED WHITE VITRIFIED TILES

BATHROOM FLOOR TILES
BISANNA TILES, ‘PIETRA AZUL’ NATURAL STONE TILES

KITCHEN BENCHTOP
CARRARA MARBLE

VENEER
BRIGGS VENEERS PTY LTD, SPOTTED GUM

MIRRORS
SHEER PTY LTD

SLIDING DOORS & WINDOWS
SVENDOUR, MACQUARIE SUITE ALUMINIUM SLIDING DOORS

GLASS LOUVRES
BREEZWAY, ALTAIR GLASS LOUVRES

LIGHTING
ARTEMIDE AUSTRALIA
EUROLUCE LIGHTING AUSTRALIA
KLIK SYSTEMS
DEDECE
ECC LIGHTING AND FURNITURE
LUMASCAPE LIGHTING INDUSTRIES