[please click images to view full size – photos by Scott Burrows]
Located within a suburb of Brisbane, the Balmoral House by ARKHEFIELD set out to create a dynamic and contemporary addition + renovation to an existing ‘Queenslander‘ [an iconic housing type] – while also addressing the specific needs of an expanding family [the clients found out they were pregnant with twins during the design process]. Utilizing a naturally sloping site and available space behind the existing structure, the designers were able to ‘open up’ the house to a newly created sheltered outdoor courtyard and pool area – while also elevating some of the interior spaces enough to provide framed views out over the suburbs and to the city.
The project is classically divided into ‘public’ and ‘private’ uses – where the existing ‘Queenslander’ was preserved and used as a more sheltered, private space for the children’s bedrooms and other quieter, more private areas. The addition, in contrast, is then open and spacious, meeting the communal needs of the family. The addition also provides a new master bedroom for the parents, creating a sense of privacy between the adult’s space and the children’s space.
The existing house becomes a deep, sheltered space encapsulating the private zones of the house. The new house forms the public zone, the fulcrum from which the family distributes its own pattern of interaction. The gap between old and new forms a new gathering place for the house. The back of the existing house becomes the new core. The rear-flung kitchen becomes the centre of a new household distribution. The existing house becomes the private living room and new buildings feed its activity.
Colour, water, volume and moving walls articulate the central space upon which the two pavilions (old and new) counterbalance creating a new character of entry and arrival.
The old and new are connected by the shared family space: living room, dining room, and outdoor space. A new pathway from the front of the house along the side of the structure even ends in this interconnected living room / patio – emphasizing this space as both the literal and figurative ‘center’ of the house.
The resulting structure plays off the interesting enforced dichotomy between old and new, closed and open, private and public – creating a dynamic and unique home that should be easily adaptable to the changing needs of a growing family over time.
The owners are currently a young family with grandparents in tow. The house is currently used as a series of clusters. In a few years, these clusters will dissipate and spread. In ten years, there will be new fiefdoms. Throughout these changes, the central outdoor space will dominate interactions, oversee coming and going, and be the lifeblood of the family.
Lastly, some sustainability / green issues were also taken into account – as the designers reused rocks existing on the site to create retaining walls; created a solar hot water and pool heating system; considered solar exposure and natural ventilation through the inclusion of operable blinds + louvers, along with eaves for all the project’s windows; bought the timber used from ‘certified’ sources; and paid particular attention to the orientation of the ‘aperture’ created by the new structure’s form and the courtyard space.
More images – and larger versions of those seen here – over at AMNP’s flickr page.
::all images + information provided by ARKHEFIELD::
::photo credit – Scott Burrows::