The client’s brief was to transform the 100 year old workers cottage into a generous, modern family home.

This gave us the opportunity to explore and contribute to the debate on how to preserve and re-use our often inadequate building stock; an often heated debate amongst architects and town planners. Our exploration and position on this issue became the primary design strategy for the project.

We endeavoured to highlight the contrast between old and new through the addition of an ultra modern steel cube to a traditional building form. The old and new, barely touching, linked via the original verandah which is show cased behind a free standing glass curtain wall.

The contrast between old and new was reinforced in material selection, colours and finishes. The traditional ‘timber and tin’ of the workers cottage is contrasted by the steel cladding, glass and off form concrete columns. The two pop-up windows projecting from the roof create dramatic internal height and lighting effects. The careful but bold use of colour dramatise the perception of space.

The new cube addition has not only added a new dimension to the workers cottage, but also provides a modern reference point that defines and contextualises the cottage. We believe that the contrast provided by the additions, heightens ones awareness and experience of the workers cottage and acknowledges the traditional building character.

The two street frontages of the site not only provided the opportunity for multiple facades but also provide the glitch in local planning laws giving us the opportunity to focus on architecture rather than planning regulation. However, the credit for the success of this project must rest with our client and builder who demonstrated a stoic determination in executing this project.

Completed: 2008

Construction: GRW Group

Structural Engineer: John Batterham Engineering