Alterations and additions to a small heritage listed timber cottage in inner suburban Melbourne. Planning and heritage requirements and construction costs fundamentally drove the outcome of this project. The client wanted a new house. For reasons only known and understood by the local authorities the existing cottage was deemed to be of some historical significance. Instead of abandoning the client, Sean Godsell Architects agreed to start from scratch, keeping the front section of the cottage and reworking it and then building a discrete fully new section at the rear of the block. In simple terms the cottage interior is remodelled to have a cathedral ceiling with a pair of timber posts supporting the ridge beam and two light cannons directing light to the centre of the single space formed by the demolition of an existing wall. A small courtyard bound by concrete walls separates the cottage from the small addition. To address issues of overshadowing and overlooking, the architects kept the height of the addition low (3.0m overall) and to compensate for a lack of light, they made the roof of the entire addition glass with an automated timber sunscreen. The sunscreen protects the occupant from summer sun but can be configured in a variety of ways to allow the ingress of winter sun. As the screen is operated from inside the appearance of the building changes. If the owner so desires they can use the roofscape as an additional outdoor living area.
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