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Privacy and Community

 

The house was one half of a “semi-d” built during the 1950s on a left over site in a Victorian neighbourhood bounded by the sea and the train line. The building was well below current building standards technically and spatially. The layout of the interior and its relationship with the external spaces was completely contrary to the requirements of a modern family home.

The design brief was to subvert the typically suburban spatial condition both in the private and the public realms and to provide a building of architectural quality informed by its context. This was to be achieved while allowing accommodation for a large flexible family unit and promoting both physical and social sustainability in a resilient built form and robust spatial hierarchy. To rearrange the house and extend as required accommodating best practice in life time design for a particular family unit. This was achieved by rearranging the relationship between the public and the private domains by the insertion of a new wall and by the relocation of the front door into the resultant space. This contributes to both privacy and community by varying the height of boundaries and allowing glimpses into the private domain placed on the edge of public space. This achieves the social requirement of perceived surveillance in the public realm, dictated by modern day demographics and life styles. This allowed a more intimate relationship between the newly created private external spaces and the interior of the house.

An adaptable living space is initiated on the ground floor by the use of sliding and folding doors conceived as moving walls allowing many permutations of room type and arrangement between them. This permits maximum flexibility in the use of the house. Daylight penetrates deep into the plan of the building by the insertion of a two storey light void beside the new tower to the rear. The form and placement of the new extensions allows future development of the site to its full potential without substantial alteration and further contributes to the physical sustainability of the building. The design required little removal of the existing built fabric thus minimising the embodied environmental footprint of the new building. The future sustainability of the building was reassured. Think global, act local.