Tear Away House

Tear Away House is a con­cep­tu­al response to a series of unusu­al site con­di­tions as a result of a divi­sion to a her­itage estate in the Ivan­hoe. An exist­ing dou­ble-storey mason­ry struc­ture is inte­gral­ly linked to the adjoin­ing home of the same pro­por­tion through a part­ing wall. Sub­se­quent­ly, a por­tion of the orig­i­nal struc­ture is retained to main­tain this rela­tion­ship. In order to pro­ceed with the mod­ern archi­tec­tur­al addi­tion, a ver­ti­cal rup­ture has been intro­duced, expressed as an unfin­ished brick wall, part­ing old and new. 

Explor­ing the con­cep­tu­al rup­ture, the addi­tion is a mod­ern coun­ter­part to the orig­i­nal using insi­tu con­crete to embody a sim­i­lar solid­i­ty, mass and fen­es­tra­tion to the orig­i­nal brick por­tion of the build­ing. A sub­stan­tial con­crete wall has been under­poured and left raw, ref­er­enc­ing the torn aspect of the brick­work while cre­at­ing a soft edge to the nat­ur­al sur­round­ings. Express­ing the tim­ber form­work, the joints in the rough fin­ish are por­tioned sim­i­lar to bricks fur­ther rein­forc­ing the link. The design intent ben­e­fits from the client’s honed craft as both a con­creter and struc­tur­al engi­neer. The upper lev­el is raked to con­ceal a rooftop bal­cony with views of the city skyline. 

A void is cre­at­ed between the old and new rup­tures employ­ing light­weight mate­ri­als and intro­duc­ing access to light and out­looks. Posi­tioned on the South side of the exist­ing home, the plan torques to allow sun and warmth to per­me­ate the cen­tre of the home and allows a beau­ti­ful old euca­lypt to fea­ture, fil­ter­ing west­er­ly sun. 

There is ten­sion between the com­plex­i­ty of the site response and the sim­plic­i­ty of the pri­ma­ry inte­ri­or spaces. The inter­sti­tial space forms an open-plan kitchen, liv­ing and din­ing space inter­sect­ed by a rib­bon-like fine black steel stair. The mate­ri­al­i­ty focus­es on the inter­play of light and tex­ture, notably across the exten­sive insi­tu con­crete walling. The inte­ri­ors use the unique foot­print as a cat­a­lyst to include unex­pect­ed spaces such as bal­cony pas­sage­ways and a large under­ground games room.

Both inte­grat­ing with and break­ing from the orig­i­nal struc­ture, the Tear Away House finds the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a dis­tinct new direc­tion through an indi­vid­ual approach to the mod­ern fam­i­ly home.

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