Sharif Abraham Architects designed the Clifton Hill House in Australia.
Description from the architects:
The site for this house is located in a leafy suburb five kilometres from Melbourne’s central business district. It spans two streets and has two frontages. An original Art Deco house, with an interesting add-on concrete structure to its rear, faced the main street. The client owned the property for many years and was strongly attached to the original house. Her brief was to refurbish it, providing two new bathrooms, and to demolish the concrete section at the rear, replacing it with a new addition containing an open plan living space.
Our objective was to design an addition that interrogated and responded to the Art Deco architecture of the original house and to advance it’s stylistic, spatial and visceral qualities. Formally, the structure of the new addition is conceived as a collection of sculptural roof forms oriented to provided outlook and sunlight to the interior as well as responding to the setback regulations of the local building code. Made from concrete with fine stucco finish and aluminium edging, the walls are pierced by large sheets of glass and high windows, establishing transparency and lightness to the form and a sensitive relationship with the future garden. A canopy sweeps outwards to create an exterior covered space where a large pivot door provides the entrance from the rear street.
On the inside, curved black and brown striped timber, traces the inside of sculptural roof elements and acts as a counterpoint to the white walls. Ceilings curve steeply upwards to create double-height spaces, and then fold down to provide intimate spaces. A linear element replicating the trunk of a tree extends the full width of the room incorporating the kitchen, unifying the successive elements of the space and establishing visual continuity towards the garden beyond.
The timber is sourced from the trunk of a single tree, allowing the entire variation of natural grain to be represented. The species is Ebony Macassar. Each slice of the trunk is carefully selected and directly applied to the interior surfaces. The outside of the trunk, where the grain is younger, is located high in the space and it progressively descends to the joinery and intimate spaces where the core is dense and dark. Around the curved sections, the veneer is bent across its grain. This intentional gesture is intended to introduce visual tension and abstraction, avoiding the common associations with the use of veneer as “feature” decoration. A library area behind the fireplace is completely surfaced with the veneer and a built-in seat provides a moment for visceral engagement. The consistency of the application of the veneer to the upper portions of the walls is intended to make the living areas feel more intimate whilst at the same time maintaining the roof height needed to capture sunlight continuously throughout the day.
Between the addition and the original house, a new courtyard is located to provide light and outlook to the inner rooms and direct access to the living spaces. Its white stained timber floor establishes continuity with the wall surfaces. A discreet staircase at one corner leads to an upper deck, located between the roof forms. This deck provides a point to survey the site and the surrounding area and allows panoramic views of treetops over the original house.
A corridor with a continuous light beam emanating from its ceiling, guides the inhabitants away from the addition and into the original house. Its fluorescent beam is intended as an extension of the living spaces. The corridor leads to the two new bathrooms, incorporated in the original house. The first bathroom is clad in black tiles and explores notions of artificiality. It presents a dark cavernous experience by surfacing the floor, walls and ceiling with dark textured tiles. The darkness of the interior is intended to focus on the user’s (naked) flesh. The lighting further explores this idea, particularly inside the shower, where the lower spot lights are positioned to highlight the area on the human body between the thighs and stomach.
By contrast the other bathroom is open to the courtyard and is flooded with natural light. It incorporates an open dressing area with cupboards at one end. A tiled ceiling unifies the spaces. The tiles are in metallic bronze, chosen for their reflective quality and sensitivity to subtle change in natural light. They delicately capture the “mood” of the day as the light moves across their surface.
The corridor and the bathrooms are fragments of the new architecture. They provide a counterpoint to the original house and at the same time establish cohesion to the spatial journey, posing questions about the nature of old and new and in the process suggest possibilities for their reconciliation.
|Architecture Design||Sharif Abraham Architects|