The clients of this Randwick residence hired the desingers at Studio Internationale to revitalise and expand their home. It was clear that any new work would need to be an addition to the rear as the site was long, narrow and rectangular. This way the pitched roof of the existing bungalow would screen any rear addition from the street.
One half of the design team, Rita comments that bungalows are typically 'rather heavy building' and not well articulated. Therefore, the team knew that had to create something lighter and finer. Driving the design was the aim to clearly seperate the public from the private, and the parents' domain from the children's.
The existing internal structure and pressed metal ceilings are retained, but otherwise the bungalow has been totally renovated with the addition of new wet areas.
This ‘private’ area is linked by the glass entry space to the expansive volume of the ‘public’ area. This, in turn, is screened off from the new private spaces upstairs in the addition by a long joinery wall which hides the stairs until you reach the threshold to the rear garden.
Entry to the house is now down a side path to the unexpected glazed place of arrival with its tranquil garden. Then a left turn throws up an even more exhilarating surprise with the grand living/dining space and its uninterrupted prospect out to the garden. This space is drenched in western light.
The reason only becomes apparent when we reach the fully glazed, double-height sliding doors by Vitrocsa. The upper level – a sitting room and entertainment space – is set back as a mezzanine, creating a beautiful volume dramatised by a full-height curtain which can be drawn across. This is indeed a highly refined house and crucial to this refinement is Studio Internationale’s use of the Swiss-made Vitrocsa glazing system for the two enormous guillotine windows at the entry end and the enormous sliding glass doors leading out to the garden.
With this system the glass itself is the supporting structure, while the sleek 17mm.frames simply act as a sealing element.The windows draw in northern light andcreate a breezeway, while the sliding doors create an uninterrupted connection to the outside garden.
Facing west, the afternoon sun is addressed by a louvred roof which covers the ‘outdoor room’ of the extended living area. This highly functional element also provides an external expression of the aesthetic found inside the house.
This whole project is a definition of architectural refinement – namely, a harmony of structure, finishes, detailing, furnishings and fittings. And it is a common refinement which harmonises the old house and the new, rather than any attempt to re-invent and extend the aesthetic of the original Californian bungalow style.
The interplay of finishes and light – both natural light and the Louis Poulsen pendants – lends a mood of gentle informality to the addition, while the contrast of light and dark between the old and the new wings seems absolutely right.