MELBOURNE | 1998
Consultants: Bayside Building Surveying
Photography: Fausto Di Blasio
This extension to a Victorian worker's cottage has been conceived as an urban wave, paused just prior to crashing on the spaces it shelters. Echoing the form of the existing verandah, but in contrast to it, the addition becomes an active living area opening to the garden.
Curved Blue Gum laminated beams accentuate the form internally, appearing almost too slender for the span, thereby suggesting a dynamic similar to the rolling of a wave. This is further enhanced by the plywood ceiling, where the grain of selected veneer creates the illusion of rippled lines. The beams spring from the rear existing wall, rising to their apex above the lounge and dining rooms where they descend, penetrating the wall then feathering out like leaves of a tree. The plywood ceiling here becomes sun shading louvres over the external deck and the beams taper to a point, propped by delicate timber posts angled as if the force of the wave near knocked them over. Flooring is also Blue Gum finished to match the beams overhead, but here it remains as a static base creating a tension between the two elements. The flooring continues outside with only weathering identifying the two.
The cupboard units of the kitchen and lounge hide for protection under the lowest point of the wave. With careful selection of veneers and appropriate finishing, the cupboards take on a woven surface, allowing them to be read independently of the form. This is further suggested by stainless steel detailing at junctions making the units appear very light.
Morning sun is promoted, controlled by the external timber louvres, bouncing off the curved form making the interior glow in wonderful reflected light. Colours change throughout the day as the sun moves around to sneak through the openings adjacent to the lounge room. The Blue Gum then maintains its natural warmth long after the sun has set, the passing of time has been recorded for another day.