House Kalafatas Challita

Sep 25, 2012
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Peter Bennetts
  • Designer
  • Architect Tribe Studio

Located in suburban Sydney, this 1950s bungalow includes nods to modern details that Robin Boyd would have described as ‘featurist’. With the passage of time, and the rise of the McMansion, the featurist facade now seems charming and modest: a neat-as-a-pin statement in the suburban streetscape. The scheme for the alteration and addition honours the suburban type by retaining the bungalow and adding a new, informal lean-to addition at the rear.

The cellular planning of the original house lends itself to bedrooms and bathrooms, while the new addition is a large, open-plan area for informal living. The new structure is a robust, rustic brick form with a steep skillion roof. Where the old house is fiddly and quaint, the new is robust and informal, creating a new locus of family activity. The floor is insitu concrete, joinery is plywood, hardware and conduit are exposed. The new structure is informal and unpretentious, full of light with generous views of the garden.

The new is separated from the old, creating a public courtyard to the north and a private courtyard with an outdoor shower adjoining the ensuite. The public courtyard lets northern light stream into the kitchen and reinforces the connection with landscape. Large sliding timber doors are used throughout to change the operation of the spaces. A study within the living room can be fully concealed, while a door can hide the TV and play equipment, or be moved to block off the hallway for efficient heating, or move again to shut out the sun during summer. Using this strategy of adaptability achieves more program in less space, adding to the passive sustainability credentials of the house and retaining the generous proportion of garden to house.

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