The Swan Street house explores ideas of ‘time’ and ‘context’ through the appropriate use of material and form derived from historical studies of early arts and crafts houses combined with a careful consideration for how the building may weather and change as a continuing dynamic experience. The project is an addition to a nondescript house at the end of a suburban tree-lined street with a desire to create a project that explored discovery and retreat. The addition takes the roof-line of the existing house and ‘takes it for a walk’ scribing a form that kicks and deflects to shade the new volume of accommodation. Folding light filled spaces dominate the interior, highlighted with moments of green, whilst externally the concern is more about formal connections to the existing house and the surrounding context whilst exploiting subtle and exaggerated differences.
‘Time’ has a new quality in this project that is at times bombastic and at other times slow and subtle. ‘Time’ is abstracted through the use of green film and polycarbonate, or actively encouraged by the contrasting weathering of oiled and non-oiled timber, or anticipated by the oxidising of copper trims that will stain a picket fence. The emphasis of the architecture is to re-focus the experience of living in this dwelling away from the contamination and distractions of the ever-increasing digital world and to encourage the re-discovery of a few simple everyday pleasures.
The new spaces fold and unfold, compress and release to create subtle internal relationships whilst capturing and configuring the exterior space. It maintains a dynamic equilibrium that responds to the activities of everyday living carefully connecting interior and exterior in a mutually beneficial manner. Space is held in the delicate balance of reality and abstraction.