Text from Taylor Knights Architects
Brunswick West House is a small-scale, 50-square-metre alteration and addition to a Californian Bungalow home. The addition forms a low-volume, compact intervention on the project’s site, that aims to re-engage the home with the generous north-facing garden beyond.
The modest nature of the project called for simple, incisive moves that would sidestep the need for an arduous and costly re-configuration of the existing home. In turn, our strategy looked to repurpose an ivy-lined sideway, creating a new, central entry for the home.
This approach enables the home to operate succinctly in two halves: the original rooms now accommodate more private activities, while the addition forms its new social heart.
These new living spaces are arranged in and around three sculptural masonry walls, creating nooks and reveals within the open plan – spaces that could offer a place to sit and share with family, or retreat within at other times.
We were originally introduced to the client as a colleague of a personal connection. They had long wanted to rethink the back section of the original house – which true to its heritage, was a rabbit-warren of compartmentalised rooms, that ultimately had very poor visual and physical connection to the garden beyond.
After 10 years of living in the original house – and learning all the things they loved about the house (and were happy to leave behind) – they approached us in 2015. Recalling our first site visit, we were also quite taken with the vegetation on the property that the client had planted – especially the lush, ivy-lined fence in the sideway, and the formidable vegetable garden – we were keen to explore how we could pull these existing elements into the project!
Working in quite demanding industries, our clients ultimately wanted to create a calm and comfortable space to retreat within. Also essential to the brief was to create moments of privacy and seclusion within the open plan.
In response, our strategy was to arrange these spaces in and around three sculptural masonry walls, curating view lines across the space and creating nooks and reveals within the open plan of the addition – spaces that could offer a place to sit and share with family, or to withdraw to at other times to read a book by the garden window.
For the client, creating a space that would also accommodate their diverse collection of artwork and literature was also an essential part of their brief – a family favourite being the much-loved print of Kandinsky’s ‘Upward (Empor)’, 1929. This offered an opportunity for us to draw upon some of the artwork’s beautiful geometric and tonal elements, which in turn formed a reference for the interior palette within the new pavilion space.