Lansdowne Extension by Preston Lane Architects
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“The clients engaged Preston Lane Architects to design a light-filled extension in their 1920s semi-detached house. The character home had charm and delight however the living spaces were internalised and undesirable due to the bathroom/laundry located to the northern face and restricted sunlight. The site has a gradual fall from the house towards the backyard and there was a level change of almost two metres between the existing floor level and backyard. The new works sleeve out of the existing house, working within constraints of the narrow site and location of secondary storage shed.
The underlying principles of the project were to draw light into the heart of the home and connect new living spaces to the garden. To achieve this, a new living/kitchen/dining space with playful ceiling pops, level change, skylights and windows to capture the sun; and large access to backyard breathes new life into the home.
Light is drawn in from above through two skylights and through windows to the northern edge (right of way). Custom operable aluminium fins were designed to alleviate privacy issues into the dining space - the clients can mediate light and shadow without overlooking their neighbour. Service spaces were grouped and concealed in darker pockets of the house to allow optimum light into living spaces from the northern boundary.
The ceiling ‘pop’ takes cues from the pitch of the existing roof and creates a large volume at the end of the house directing eyes towards the sky before you step outside.
Steps in the floor level mediate between the existing house and backyard. The internal level change was designed to serve a functional purpose and delineate space but now also act as a pivotal social gathering/seating space for the clients and their visitors. Play with volume (ceiling, skylights and level change) increases the perceived size of the space whilst keeping a modest footprint.
Whilst the property itself was not heritage listed, it is situated within a heritage overlay precinct. The line between new and old is visible through exposed brickwork walls, line of flooring (change and finish) and glazing placement. Bricks from demolished walls are reutilised as the extension base and stairs that draw you from the kitchen/dining down onto a deck platform and into the garden beyond.
A restrained palette allows the clients art and furnishings to be presented. Brickwork and a concrete polished floor provide a grounded base to the extension; joinery is white with detailed custom vertical pulls on larger cupboards; timber datum wraps the living spaces to place special things upon (benchtops, desk, shelves).
A modest budget required detailing and structure to be simple and cost effective. Working closely with the structural engineer provided a simple construction solution to achieve a successful, exciting outcome.
The clients can fine-tune their home experience through an integrated solution for lighting, security and heating. Phillips ‘Hue’ light fittings have been used throughout to enable automated, app-based control which syncs with Google Home, smart fire detection systems, a smart door lock and AirSmart climate control.”
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