[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::
Well, my ninjas, it looks as if Foster has been kicked to the curb in San Francisco – and will not be getting that stimulus project that the Architect’s Newspaper reported on a while back. Instead, a local firm will be chosen to work on the project and receive the stimulus pay. To all my non-US based ninjas: I’m sorry to be so ‘pro-USA’ about this whole stimulus thing, but I expect you to be upset if your government is going to hire non-local designers on projects whose entire purpose is to create jobs and get people working/making money. Every ninja for him/herself around here these days…
*caution: rant ahead*
Really, I thought this was important because the legislation that dealt with whether or not stimulus funding had to be awarded to ‘local’ workers was some bullshit, pandering to ‘blue-collar’ Americans [steel manufacturers, in particular, I believe]. Look, I want politrick-cians to make sure ‘blue-collar’ workers are protected, but I hate that the rest of us are marginalized in their rhetoric. Do I work in a steel mill? No, but I still live here + vote. Architects, engineers, and designers are all US workers, too – our interests should be protected by our supposed representation as much as the next ninja. Those of us in ‘white-collar’ professions are just as desperate for work in this recession – and as the government is fairly consistently pushing for a ‘knowledge economy’, people who bought into the concept and became an architect or engineer [or whatever] instead of a construction worker [incurring massive debt, oftentimes, along the way] should be considered in the stimulus bill, too.
Anyways, this should all be in writing somewhere – guilt and bad publicity should not have entered into the decision to not award this stimulus project in SF to Foster. It should have been in the original legislation – and now it should be amended.
The typical architecture-school final thesis project tends to start as a theoretical written document, laying out a students individual thoughts and concepts on a particular architectural topic – which then evolves into a ‘paper architecture’ project, designed by the student and explained in drawings, diagrams, models, and maybe some animations.
Quad Space – the M-Arch thesis project of University at Buffalo students Michael-John Bailie, Paul Dudowski, Ernest Ng H.H., and Dan Stripp – is, as you can see, no ‘typical’ thesis project. Rather than leave the project on paper, the four students decided to test their ideas in the real world – through a fairly drastic/awesome renovation of a 400 SF 1850’s Buffalo home. From the team:
Quad Space is an insertion of an architectural academic exercise as a full-scale constructed exploration to spatially and structurally manipulate and define the division of four spaces within a 400 sqf house.
Project background, via Quad Space:
This thesis re-evaluates the operations of architectural exercises within the academia and its role and relationship with the social, communal and economic environment that it is based in. This thesis project will critically investigates the process of establishing an academic architectural research project as a full scale construction insertion in the city of Buffalo, through the physical manipulation and conversion of a derelict house into a habitable space.
This collaborative thesis project is strengthened and necessitated by the nature, scale and logistics of a full scale architectural construction exercise involving coordination, compromises and negotiations by four individuals, while also being challenged and contorted by the conventions of the academia and its definition of a thesis work as a purely individual exercise.
This thesis project operates within the space of two current economic situations: the first being the stagnant and derelict economic landscape of Buffaloâ€™s domestic environment in which the insertion of this academic project, self-motivated and independently funded by architectural students/ designers/ builders/ owners creates a sense of iconography and raise awareness for innovative attitudes towards the re-considering the banal within such an urban landscape.
The second Â being that of the typical American view of domesticity, which the thesis acknowledges and provokes by challenging the perception of conventionally extensive spatial needs within the ideal American home and domestic landscape, by re-defining and re-interpreting conventional building codes requirements for minimal living.
The 4 students bought the existing structure for $6,500 at auction, and subsequently gutted the building and tore down an addition to prep for their project. The total cost of the renovation/redesign is estimated at $32,000 – with donations from a number of local construction-related companies.
From a programmatic standpoint, the project takes the existing 400 SF home and inserts 4 volumes [seen in diagram above] into the space – creating 4 private living spaces. Each of these inserted volumes pushes through the existing home, becoming visible on the exterior as a uniquely defined space. The interstitial space remaining between these insertions will then function as communal space, such as kitchen, bath, and living room. Check the Quad Space blog for some great photos of the process of cutting the existing facades and roof, then sliding the newly created volumes through from the inside – pretty sick.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – you want to see the finished product. AMNP has already arranged to stay in contact with one of the team members, and I look forward to bringing readers images of the completed project when the team wraps everything up – possibly with some of their thoughts on the process of collaborating on a thesis, actually building an academic project like this, and reactions to the completed structure. For those of you in NYC, the project will also be exhibited in September [images, obviously] as part of “Arch Schools: Visions of the Future”, an annual exhibition at the Center for Architecture.
Head over to the Quad Space blog for more images and information on the project, and process photos documenting the construction.
::info, images and quoted text courtesy of the Quad Space team::
Should stimulus funding only be awarded to local firms? Or, if we’re not that explicit about it – should local firms’ proposals get some kind of ‘preferred’ status? The Architect’s Newspaper reported last week that Foster + Partners has been chosen for the $121 million renovation of 50 UN Plaza, a historic federal building in San Francisco – chosen over SOM, Architectural Resources Group with HKS, and Hornberger + Worstell with William McDonough, all of which have San Fran offices. I’m not one to spout some pro-America nonsense, but the stimulus [paid for by us, eventually] seemed to be about improving the US economy by funding US projects and paying US workers. Sure, we’re a part of a global economy, but consider this: they would never dream of hiring anything but local laborers for this project. It might not seem like a big deal, but a project this size will generate enough income for a firm to retain a significant amount of workers, I would imagine. What do you think? Leave a comment!