Two Distinct Geometries – Bouwman House by Sam Crawford Architects
Haberfield, NSW, Australia
The Bouwman House from Sam Crawford Architects sees an update on a 1914-era Federation house in Sydney’s inner-west. The result is a design that can be read as two distinct geometries whose form articulates the historic narrative of the home.
In the historic Sydney suburb of Haberfield, the Bouwman House had a substantial 1980s extension that extended the original four-bedroom house with eight extra rooms. This addition became the groundwork for a new distinct geometric element to the home. However, rather than trying to mirror the astute details of the original, the architects sought to create a visual departure from the Federation-style home. “It offers greater respect to the original materials if you don’t mimic them,” explains Sam Crawford. “We thought we could use a material that was almost in opposition to the original, but we also paid respect to the original building by making the additions subservient to it in scale.”
The architects aimed to embrace the location among the other period-style houses in the neighbourhood. In the original home, ornate doors, door frames and windows are restored so that the front portion of the house honours the home’s history. The second stage of the redevelopment saw a substantial change in thematic architectural aesthetics. Using concrete as the dominate material, the extension offers multiple formal responses — a new curved entrance marks the departure from the old building, and the cathedral-like ceilings welcome the family into the new zones. Concrete was chosen for its flexibility and sculptural aesthetics. “It’s a beautiful material to touch,” Sam says, “concrete is perfect for its tactile qualities and its ability to be loaded.”
The new pitched roof offers a more modest height than the 1980s extension, but the cathedral-inspired angled lines bring volume into the open-plan kitchen, living and dining room. The design also redirects the contemporary concrete addition to face towards the street, and the sun, through an internal courtyard. The monolithic curved concrete wall signals the new space and offers a second entry for the busy family of six with nooks to conceal school bags and sports gear, while defining the passageway into the expansive light-filled kitchen, dining and living space. Light is brought into the house with a combination of skylights over the corridors and artificial spotlights.
The natural space disrupts the volume of the house, and a raw palette of concrete, timber, glass and zinc visually blends the internal and external areas, extending to a pool and garden to the rear of the house. At the end of the garden, a low-ceilinged garage has been converted into a vaulted cabana space, with a barbeque area and private space for the teenage children.
Bouwman House is a tranquil space, with organic flow from the original period build through to the hyper-modern extension. The green and natural environment blends the expansive house into intimate areas for the family and provides a home that will age with grace.