Australian Institute of Architects - Award of Merit (Archicentre Renovation) 2000
Two very busy people with two very active children were very attached to their cottage in the Adelaide Hills. However, the cottage was in very serious need of attention to upgrade it into a modern retreat for work and play.
Tectvs envisaged a simple addition to the original cottage to open up views out over the garden and Onkaparinga River. A series of simple spaces would reflect the relaxed style of the owners. The cottage was locked in from the south and expansion to the north constrained by an aged gum tree. How far to go east or west was the primary consideration.
The Tectvs solution drew from two classic Australian influences, the Murcutt house and the River Murray shack: a sensitive understatement of the obvious expressed in galvanized steel, oiled timber and ‘bush’ colours. Construction and fixing was familiar and simple – engineered timber structure, post and bearer sub-floor, timber frame walls, beam and purlin roof of seamlessly sprung metal, reinforced cement board and timber cladding. Tectvs applied equally simple passive/dynamic sustainable design principles to reduce the house’s environmental footprint, including specifying traditional oil finishes and cement paints; plantation timbers; and construction techniques, materials and finishes with low embodied energy. It introduced a water system that reticulated grey, rain and river water, along with an aerobic sand-filter septic system which enabled the re-use of grey water for irrigation.
The new house featured two main spaces, comprising the original cottage which faced the road and the addition which faced the river. They were connected by a revamped lean-to which housed the shared spaces of entry, laundry and bathroom. The two rooms of the cottage were connected and french doors inserted to provide an outlook to the garden. The main volume of the addition was divided by an open fire - living/dining/kitchen on one side, master bedroom the other – and expanded by an external balcony.
The final result still holds strong more than a decade later, and yes, the views are still just as good.