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Architecture: Butler House

October 22, 2010

The roof terrace of a residential dwelling by Andrew Maynard Architects challenges the distinction between inside and outside.

Nestled within the undulated roofline of one of Fitzroy’s famed MacRobertson warehouses sits a roof terrace with a difference, complete with canopy and turf. The vertical and architectural pinnacle of the Butler House fills the void that affects so many inner-city dwellings: a lack of outdoor space.

An adjustable vertical spine was fashioned from floor to roof, creating a flexible isolation between levels. Operable louvres allows controllable degrees of isolation; timber shelves, which in time will fill with miscellaneous objects, offers further resistance; a strip of lusciously-green carpet flanking the spine introduces a much-needed soft surface. A stack effect was also fostered, where strategic ventilation allowed purging of hot air to the terrace during the summer months.

The existing roof structure was simply cut at the collar-tie and re-fashioned in a manner, minimising steel use, to allow a bed for the roof pod – a bionic upgrade of sorts. The lifting of the roof allowed us to reveal the flesh of the dwelling within. Sitting the pod within the roofline, as opposed to above, was imperative in maintaining engagement with the house below.

The dark, Butynol clad roof of the pod responds in size and pitch to the neighbouring rooflines, but affords residual spaces to either end, open to the sky, with glimpses to the city skyline beyond. The turf covering is both practical and playful, bolstering tension against the adjacent corrugated tin. With doors wide open, the continuity of turf well and truly blurs and line between inside and out.

The Butler House was a tricky project to approach. The defined nature of the boundaries meant a creative approach had to be adopted in order to make the most of what was available. The result is an adaptable dwelling that will grow and alter over time, just as the family will.

  • James October 29th, 2010 10:12 am

    Enviro poor, disappointing to see green plastic used to mimic landscape. Not so smart design.


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