Waratah Residence

Completed 2020

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:

  • Can we gain northern light without compromising privacy?
  • Can a master bedroom step from sleeping to robe / ensuite?
  • How do we diffuse natural light?
  • Can we avoid Box Gutters?
  • Does an extension make heritage more obvious?

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Level 1/152/160 Hunter St, Newcastle NSW 2300