Randwick House

The existing Federation-era house is one of a large series of stately homes located in this Randwick street, nearly all of which have been desecrated by economical and unsympathetic brick extensions in the 1970s and are distinguished only by the consistently low quality in each and every structural, material and component part. A large family wanted to reconfigure the rear of the house with a minimal budget to achieve a contemporary living space oriented to the private yard.

Two key manoeuvres address the requirements of the project. Firstly, the new interior is connected to the existing via a pair of "wriggly walls" that emerge from a male/female connection at the threshold of the existing house before expanding outward to the limit of the existing envelope, serving as giant joinery items that scribe continuous lines through the space. A central stair provides the void around which the two lines divert to the perimeter and continues the central hall of the existing house down to the rear yard. Secondly, the rear facade was reconstructed to address the requirements of the new internal planning and to let more light into the building generally. The facade was conceived as a paper thin element that shares a lineage with 19th century public buildings for example where a basic container was fronted with a highly finished, luxurious public face. The new elevation is expressed as a 6mm thick plate and is chocolate in colour to relate to the brown brick buildings adjacent and of which it is a part.

Photography by Brett Boardman