Christopher Polly Architect
Woolooware, NSW, Australia
The Binary House by Christopher Polly Architect is a crafted lightweight volume that has been carefully connected to the retained and refashioned rear of an original 1960’s yellow brick envelope.
This critically acclaimed project enacts clear planning, cost and environmental values in an articulated binary composition. Ultimately it is a cellular and private front, with an open and public rear that expands to its setting.
The original bungalow maintains its modern heritage values, enabling the cultural memory of its suburban type to be preserved within its locality, while also supporting environmental and budget outcomes. Its interior carefully configures an ambitious program of bedrooms and utility spaces, while vaulted skylights carved within the original roof form expand several spaces to light and sky. A sharply folding intermediary form spatially unlocks a compressed front hall while allowing the location of interstitial courtyards for light, ventilation and multiple aspects at the center of the plan – in turn promoting a spatial interplay of private and public rooms across front and rear zones.
The two-storey pavilion provides a volumetrically expansive double-height living area enabled via surrendered upper floor area and rigorously organised circulation, and serves as a generously proportioned ‘garden room’ with large apertures capturing sky and landscape views.
The stair element extends the established circulation condition from the original front entry, while also marking a loose threshold for the arrangement of two smaller rooms at one end of its volume – a ground level kitchen and a flexible upper floor sitting room that is adaptable as a bedroom or future study.
Glazing arrangements harness natural light and promote passive cooling and heating, while external retractable blinds temper direct sunlight when required. It employs an approach to enable a strong focus of the memory and character of the existing fabric within the palette of new rear spaces, and celebrates its modest domestic intentions with enhanced amenity for meals preparations, dining and direct connections to outdoor spaces.
An opaque southern face mitigates significant overlooking from an adjacent neighbour, while a northern blade screen and a pinched rear profile enable greater solar access onto the generous thermal mass of a reverse concrete-veneer wall and ground floor slab – with a cantilevered terrace edge and sculpted step element doubling as seats for enjoyment of the garden.
2018 Houses Awards – House Alteration & Addition – Shortlisted Finalist
2018 Australian Timber Design Awards – Residential Interior – Shortlisted Finalist
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