Residential Alterations – Deep northern light without the privacy concerns with surrounding neighbour residences.

Addressing the challenge of maximizing northern light exposure while maintaining privacy from neighboring residences, particularly on flood-prone land, requires a thoughtful approach. The task at hand involves extending a 1920s miners cottage, elevated four steps above its current state. Early discussions revolved around the idea of preserving this cottage, recognizing its intrinsic value within the local context. Despite its simplicity, the clients expressed a strong desire to honor its heritage. We enjoy the challenge of seeking to retain rather than simply demolish…

The proposed solution involves a modern extension that gracefully complements the existing cottage, ensuring its preservation. A key consideration is allowing ample northern light into the property without resorting to skylights or encroaching on neighboring private spaces.

To adhere to planning provisions and respect neighborhood privacy, an innovative design strategy is proposed. A steep northern reach in the roofline is suggested, coupled with high-level windows positioned beneath the extension. These windows, integrated within a modified trussed system, ingeniously diffuse sunlight into the interior spaces, creating a welcoming ambiance without overwhelming brightness. The resulting ceiling form not only serves a practical purpose but also offers a unique opportunity for stargazing and basking in the morning sun.

Retaining the cottage serves dual purposes: preserving its historical significance and providing private retreats for the growing family. Transitioning seamlessly from the original structure, private zones step up into the “new” family room—a spacious area for communal activities, relaxation, and play. With doors that fold away, this room seamlessly extends into the outdoor dining area, effectively creating an additional private yet connected space within the main living area.

This project was a prototype for the following questions:

Heritage Restoration – Restore the inner-city Newcastle heritage to its original facade

The ever popular inner-city Newcastle heritage has become a favourite by both the locals and visitors. Our clients have told us, since the completion of this project a lot of tourists are stopping and taking photos. Apart from some un wanted attention, this shows us that people want to see and experience our heritage. In Australia we have very young heritage, so we need to re-think what might be heritage, what needs to be protected or in this case, what needs to be restored.

We studied photos from the era of this build to source to re-correct the facade of this property. The (re) introduction of missing cast iron lace panels and the design of the entry tiles mixed with colour matching brings this place to its former glory. It was great to see the neighbour be inspired by our work and follow suit.

This project was a prototype for the following questions:

Public / Commercial – An accessible ramp becomes a viewing deck and refuge point…

(Maria River Distillery) SEE MORE HERE

The proposed project entails establishing a restaurant and expanding on the existing industrial production of Maria River Distilling Co. The site site between Crescent Head and Kempsey, NSW, along the famous Maria River. It is a rural property with vistas, wildlife and amazing planting and botanicals throughout. On a generation farm, this property has been a diary farm for most of its life, which has grown to become one of the countries top boutique gin distillers. The goal to expand production and allow visitors to enjoy not only the product but the site was a major goal for this project.

While the site is breathtaking, it came with challenges. The land is renowned for flooding to up to two and half metres above ground level, sitting in a bushfire zone and an ecological protection zone. We undertook an in-depth site analysis and feasibility of the brief in regards to the site to outline what the constituents of these challenges will be.

We posed the question that these constraints on site, whilst a problem in first principals, could actually be something that strengthens the project and creates possibility not a hinderance

With bathrooms being 2.5m above ground level that need to be wheelchair accessible, we proposed to use this ramp as a public viewing path for all to safely view the MRD production process which also offers another perspective of the site and surrounding botanicals. We took inspiration from the existing boat house by the river to create a large gabled restaurant that is essentially a large viewing deck. Between the production shed and the restaurant sits the existing diary that is transformed into a bar to be used by guests in the courtyard.

This project has been approaved by Kempsepy Shire Council and is currently undergoing construction documentation. Watch this space

This project is a prototype for the following questions:

New Residence – Block a view to make a view, is our view on this project

Nestled in Warners Bay, with a commanding view of Lake Macquarie, lies our client’s property—a newly constructed home that seamlessly blends affordability with functionality. Designed to simplify daily life while offering ample space for entertaining and socialising, it also accommodates the needs of visiting family members and guests, ensuring their comfort within a separate, private pod.

In collaboration with Habitat Lab, we embarked on a design journey to craft a residence that not only harmonizes with its surroundings but also maximizes the breathtaking vistas. Our aim was to create a sanctuary that balances openness with seclusion, catering to the ebb and flow of occupants.

Situated slightly elevated from neighboring residences, the challenge was to capitalize on the panoramic views without compromising privacy or energy efficiency. Through meticulous site analysis and testing, we strategically positioned the guest wing and main living areas, leveraging the unique topography. Surprisingly, the solution lay in the placement of the double car garage, strategically positioned at the forefront of the property. By orienting the garage towards the view and transforming its roof into a panoramic viewing deck and rooftop garden, we not only shielded the property from prying eyes but also enhanced its allure as a tranquil retreat overlooking the serene expanse of Lake Macquarie.

Double curved walls are proposed to further channel views and guide the clients around the floor plan. While cost effective materials were proposed, we tested the use of terracotta tiles on the facade to add to street appeal with a nod to many terracotta roofs in the area.

This project is a prototype for the following questions:

Commercial – “Newcastle harbour simulator to train next generation of tug boat masters” (Herald 2024)

Newcastle Herald VIEW ARTICLE
Shipping Australia VIEW ARTICLE

Svitzer are a global company that innovate and coordinate maritime services, becoming one of the leading tug boat operators in the world. Their success around the world and in particular the Port of Newcastle is a testament to their ongoing investment in education, innovation and technology. We have been lucky enough to tap into this energy and innovation as the selected architects for their ‘Tug Boat Simulator Project’.

Working with the simulator requirements supplied by Kongsberg Norway – we designed and are delivering the construction of a new training facility for our future tug masters.

The design is simple in how it is conducted, we took inspiration from the tugs themselves and the existing buildings to shape the curve in the roof and articulate the facade. The building has its own ‘hull’ in an off red colour that acts as a nod to the tugs. As you enter to the operations and simulator a screen and structure above welcomes you with the names of all the tug boats. This project is projected to be completed in Winter 2024.

This project is a prototype for the following questions:

Residential Alteration – Leave the tree in the middle of the house please…

This project is about extending a small cottage for a growing family in the first instance. To being a challenge to the construction industry with how we up-cycle and re-use construction material waste.

Stage 1 has been a taste of what is to come for this project, using windows from another recently demolished project, recycled hardwood structure and cladding along with recycled brickwork. This stage is an extension for a guest wing and carport to the front of the property. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) lines the interior – a material used for bracing usually now becomes the warmth and tactility of this home.

Stage 2 is underway, where the bedroom wing extends down to the yard bending around the large existing iron bark tree. A cluster of windows and openings along the corridor creates a foyer that can be seemingly outdoors when desired. Inside the foyer you will find parent and kids rooms with views to surrounding trees and access to the yard beyond. We look forward to the nearing completion of this project.

This project was a prototype for the following questions:

Residential Alterations – “A Scandinavian-inspired home in the heart of Mayfield”,

(Hunter Hunter Magazine 2023) READ ARTICLE HERE
(This is Mayfield 2023) VIEW POST HERE
(Perini Tiles Advertisment) VIEW AD

Mayfield stands as one of Newcastle’s most sought-after neighborhoods, trailing only behind Merewether, Tighes Hill, and Newcastle itself. Its appeal lies in its rich cultural heritage and historical significance, boasting some of the city’s grandest and oldest houses adorned with beautiful period features.

Many homebuyers flock to Mayfield in search of their dream home or investment property, drawn to its historical charm and the opportunity to own a piece of Newcastle’s past. Elizabeth Street, in particular, is renowned for its homes bursting with character.

One such property, a 1990s brick veneer house, stood out amidst its older counterparts. Despite its apparent mismatch with the surrounding architecture, its potential caught our eye. The house, with its spacious driveway and garage, presented an opportunity for transformation.

The challenges were apparent upon acquisition. The house was dark, prone to extreme temperatures, and lacked character. However, we saw beyond its flaws and envisioned a modern, open-plan space that would seamlessly blend with its surroundings.

The transformation began with the conversion of the garage into a contemporary kitchen, retaining the original concrete floor polished to reveal vibrant hues. Curves and geometry were incorporated into the design, maximizing space utilization and adding a sense of fluidity.

Attention to detail was paramount, with every aspect of the design meticulously curated. Inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics and sustainable practices, we created a space that harmonized functionality with elegance.

Remarkably, the renovation, completed within a short timeframe, retained the original footprint of the house, preserving its exterior charm. Salvaged materials were repurposed, adding to the project’s sustainability. In essence, the transformation of this once-overlooked property exemplifies the seamless blend of tradition and innovation, breathing new life into Mayfield’s architectural landscape.

This project was a prototype for the following questions:

Residential New Build – A simple gable sitting a top the hill

A new home built on a difficult site that is steep, bushfire-prone, and oddly shaped was a challenge. What also came with this site was a small clearing on a hill that overlooked many tree canopies and a soon-to-be-tiered garden landscaping.

A steep gable is proposed to reflect the site and the client’s vision for a modern farm-style residence. The vaulted roof runs through into the living and dining space with large exposed Blackbutt trusses. Facing northwest, a large awning roof (similar to the olden-day farmhouse) wraps around the glazing to shade the home and offer an extension to the inside. Again, Blackbutt is used inside and out for all exposed timber, which is contrasted by the dark cladding and lower brick nib walls.

Behind the aesthetic of this property is a thoroughly considered building design regarding its thermal properties, ventilation measures, solar control building wrapping/sealing throughout. In basic terms, no moisture should enter the building, the heat gain from outside is considered, and the building is designed and built to perform very efficiently and economically. We look forward to sharing more.

This project was a prototype for the following questions:


Outdoor Pavilion – Is it a church? Is it a shed? Is it a cafe? – No – Its just a structure to gather with friends and cook pizza…

But its detailed, considered and not your average patio bbq space. A portal frame construction that is infilled with fairly standard materiality – fibre cement sheeting and weatherboards. These material wrap the structure seamlessly and avoids messy junctions, flashings and gutterings through concealing and re-thinking how these may be done. The structure protrudes through the linings to express its lightweight and portal construction.

The steel brackets ground the structure on concrete pads, these pads will eventually be landscaped over to make this pavilion even more light weight, like its floating in our clients yard. Keeping framing and lining free from the ground improves longevity in our building and reduces maintenance and the potential for decay.

This project is a prototype for the following questions:

Residential Alterations – A light filled extension retaining the ‘Hudson Home’ heritage and expanding the clients home for their expanding family…

Positioned to the rear of the property, this extension is invisible from the street. The existing style home is retained to avoid cost blow out, be in-keeping with the local context and minimise waste in demolition. The clients brief questioned how a better connection to the outdoors could be achieved. Can we avoid removing too much of the existing property and allow the extension to be a simple extension of the families living and kitchen zones. A strong push for natural light that is controlled and utilised all year round became a key focus during our briefing conversations. Our clients wanted an extension that internally connects old and new seamlessly, as well, could the outdoor spaces be connected in a similar seamless transition?

An entry room was designed to be a low roof space for kicking off boots, hanging your coat, dumping your keys and moving onto to the remaining home. This roof is as low as possible to ensure the existing hip roof is retained and un-disturbed. Once you move past the entry way the ceiling is again expanded into the kitchen and living rooms. Brick pavers run from the outside into these entry ways to blur the inside with the outside. Similarly, the ceiling lining from the outdoor soffit runs through into the interior. This creates the ‘bulkhead’ for the extensions services and curtain tracks.

The parapet and eaves extend out past the glazing line in order to enhance shading and maximise winter solar gain. As the extension is to face north west, adding the ‘wings’ to the facade further aids in diffusing sunlight in order to control the solar gain and take advantage of the thermal mass of the brick pavers and polished slab floor.

This project is a prototype for the following questions: