A Floating Expansion – Moorooka House by Maytree Studios
Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Photography Toby Scott
Architecture Maytree Studios
Interior Design Maytree Studios
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Sitting at the front of the site and extending out from the previous face of the home, the principles underpinning Moorooka House bind the new with the old. Maytree Studios devises a series of techniques to create a bold floating form that sits hovering over the landscape below, retaining an authentic connection to the home’s original rudimentary parts.

Forming extensions from the past and predicting the future are quite opposing gestures, requiring alternate approaches – and yet, Moorooka House aimed to do both. While the original blond brick home previously served its purpose as a family home, it needed to respond to its growing and changing residents over time, while also adjusting to the contemporary lived condition. In planning for the future, an embedded adaptability became a key focus for the new addition and the adjustments to the original home. The new offers itself as a darkened timber box to the upper level of the original home, extending an offer of engagement with the street and its neighbours. Maytree Studios emphasises the proposed as a natural evolution of the existing, both approached with similar sensibilities.

By elevating the extension, a feeling of living among the trees is created, where openings are positioned to align with the surrounding canopies.

Moorooka House was built by Momentum Building and comfortably aims to respond to its context in Brisbane. Not wanting to add ornament or inappropriate decoration, the 1970s brick origins of the home create the ideal foundational platform for the new. Balancing the lightweight nature of the addition, the brick original structure allows the bold extension to appear floating. Connections to the landscape were key and enhancing these both embraces the site and responds passively to the Queensland climate. The existing floor plan was replanned to reposition the kitchen and living area to the rear, enabling them to occupy a shared and open space, while also opening generously to the landscape and outdoor rear deck. Other dormant areas of the home were then able to be repurposed as dedicated dining spaces, separated from the main open living area.

The new is encased in recycled Australian spotted gum, treated and charred to create a low maintenance finish and allow the natural texture and sap of the timber to self-seal the finish. By elevating the extension, a feeling of living among the trees is created, where openings are positioned to align with the surrounding canopies. A dedicated parental retreat space is carved into the new, accompanied by a study, additional living space and outdoor deck to engage the garden and established foliage. There is a combined approach of playfulness within the contained linear home boundary, allowing the many personalities of the home to be expressed freely over time.

The new is encased in recycled Australian spotted gum, treated and charred to create a low-maintenance finish and allow the natural texture and sap of the timber to self-seal the finish.

Maytree Studios’ Moorooka House is intentionally adaptive, allowing changes over time to align with a changing family and their needs. in the process, the home firmly connects with its site and context today, while also referencing its past.

Published 14 June, 2021
Photography  Toby Scott
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