From the architects
The addition to the Charred Wood house was conceived as a contemporary companion to the existing red brick post war structure. The replication of the pitched roof to the first floor and its resultant extruded gable form are recognisable abstractions of the existing.
As a counterpoint to the solidity of the clinker brick of the original house, the addition is light weight and clad at the upper floor in charred timber.
The charred timber cladding embeds the house in the woodland. The striking ebony hue of the cladding contrasts with the verdant green of the surrounding and living, leafy canopies. The durability, and low maintenance qualities of the selected external raw material make it both a complimentary and a sustainable choice for the harsh Australian climate.
The underlying principal was to create a place of engagement – people to people and built form to environment. Modern volumes and finish, complementary and well paired form contribute to longevity in use and liveability.
Integral to the client’s brief was the opening up of existing, segmented internal spaces to engage with each other more effectively and also create a dialogue with the triangulated garden. Channelling of natural light and views into these spaces while maintaining a sense of privacy was also important.
These aspects of the brief were functionally achieved by the partial demolition of the existing structure to make way for a full-length volume for the kitchen and informal living/dining areas which have a direct relationship with the garden. At the first-floor shrouded windows enable framed private views into the tree tops.
The design of the Charred Wood House has enabled the client to inhabit a space that is outward looking and engaged with its context but at the same time private. The added informal living areas that connect with the garden have contributed to the sociability of the house allowing for extended family gatherings that readily flow from interior to exterior areas.
The existing 1940s house is a red brick post war structure that had dark introverted spaces. The rear of the house was demolished to make way for an informal Living, Meals area and Kitchen that would engage with the surrounding woodland setting.
Similarly, the first floor was reconfigured to afford private views into tree canopies and tall hedges from the bedrooms. The pitched roof of the existing house was replicated in the first-floor addition, allowing lofty raked ceilings to the Bedrooms. External charred timber cladding acts as a counterpoint to the leafy woodland context the house resides in.
Given the modest budget the floor plate had to be simple and the volumes uncomplicated. The resultant extruded gable form was a cost-effective way of achieving the required spaces whilst acknowledging new built form and providing some drama to the volume of the new first-floor rooms.
The charred timber cladding, used for both its raven colour and its longevity of finish, was also specified for its inherent economy, low maintenance and favourable comparison to other considered cladding systems. Internally finishes are restrained – with cost effective matte and timber laminates used to offset Carrara marble and hand-made tiles.
The charred timber cladding is the most dominant product used in the project. It was used for both its raven colour and its longevity of finish.
The client requested a material that would be in tune with the woodland context of the site but that would require little ongoing maintenance. Architecturally the material has an almost rough organic feel that worked with the extruded gable form and shrouded windows of the addition.