Visual and Ventilated Connections - Garden Room House by Clare Cousins Architects
Fitzroy North, VIC, Australia
Centred on a living and breathing core, the Garden Room House sees a previous ill-fitting extension reimagined. Here, Clare Cousins Architects has carved both visual and ventilated connections through strategically-placed landscaped elements.
Behind its original Victorian façade in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North sits a subtle and classically formed reimagining of an existing extension. Previously renovated from its original period style planning and structure, the inherited home needed a complete rebirth in order to align with the needs and lifestyle parameters of its client and their young family. At the core of the initiative was a connection to the site, to the garden, and between the internal zones. Together with Eckersley Garden Architecture and ProvanBuilt, Clare Cousins Architects was tasked with inserting a living and breathing lung, bringing together Victorian and contemporary styles.
On a site that slopes gradually along its streetscape, the linear re-planning allows for a more effective use of site with a corridor running the length of the built form, encouraging floods of natural light. Oriented from this light-filled spine are a series of internal volumes that all then have purposeful connections to other garden elements, centred on the main ‘garden room’. Core to these adjacencies is the idea of creating meaningful relationships internally, and the desire to maximise the opportunity to engage with multiple green vistas through the home. As the family grows with the space, these green vistas will grow and soften too.
The previous oversized pool was deemed excessive and subsequently reduced, giving back additional real estate to the new extension. Due to the nature of the pool being the focal of the rear of the property, the internal garden ‘room’ is the critical connecting point. With large operable glazing opening up this landscape space to the interior, northern light and ventilation is welcomed into the centre of the home. This space then also becomes an extension of the living and entertaining areas.
Behind its original Victorian façade in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North sits a subtle and classically formed reimagining of an existing extension.
Comprised of two varying tonalities of brick, the palette of the contemporary elements is a nod to the original home’s polychromatic brick heritage frontage. The marrying of key period features is deliberately subtle, and selectively transitions through the home. From the entry, a central corridor connects a series of high ceiling spaces, which then taper to intentionally lower ceilings in the extension, in an effort to emphasise a horizontal spatial experience. These ceilings then raise again over the kitchen, responding to the changing ground plane. The combination of subtle finishes, a classic and muted palette with warm oak timber evokes a discreet timelessness.
Comprised of two varying tonalities of brick, the palette of the contemporary elements is a nod to the original home’s polychromatic brick heritage frontage.
Inherent to the visual and living capacity of the integrated central garden space is the ability for the home to be temperature controlled, ventilated and have its own source of dense clean air filtration. The expansive use of double-glazing to windows and doors allow for heat retention and passive cooling throughout. While the swimming pool was reduced primarily to give back to the family’s internal space, it also allowed the remainder was converted into an underground water collection tank, designed to gather run-off water from the roof, surpassing the garden’s irrigation requirements and providing storage of over 20,000 litres.
The combination of subtle finishes, a classic and muted palette with warm oak timber evokes a discreet timelessness.
Clare Cousins’ Garden Room house is hinged off of a core ethos of connection. The resulting living and breathing home cleverly integrates landscape elements, creating a deep connection to site. In this way, the design embraces the original home’s Victorian heritage, and offers a solution to the contemporary living typology.