MCK Architects was initially commissioned to design a house for a family of three, but by the time construction began, the family had grown to six. The brief was to take a bungalow in Randwick, Sydney and revitalize it for a young family.
Generally the blocks in the area are a little over ten metres wide, which provides enough space to place a room at each side of a corridor, which then gets a kitchen, living and dning at the back.
It's done frequently because it’s a planning strategy that works; it takes advantage of all the space available on the block, allows the charm of the original house to remain in conversation with the street, and contemporizes the house out the back for the inhabitants. Private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms can then be located above, and you might even get a car parking spot down the side. How you deliver that plan in three dimensions, however, is what can make a house like this special.
Unlocking the plan with an appropriate and agitative section doesn’t always happen, but MCK Architects has managed to do this. You get a hint of what might be happening in the house when you glimpse the two new roof forms obliquely from the street Nestled into the back of the corrugated bungalow roof sits a black-stained shingled form punctuated by deep window reveals; behind that, a white curve can be seen completing the roofscape composition. These new external forms are an articulation of what is happening in section.
Behind the bungalow MCK Architects has created a series of volumes and voids - a motif that the practice has successfully explored in previous projects such as the DPR and White Houses, where private spaces above punctuate and enliven the more public spaces below. In the Black House, a variation has evolved, with the voids appearing more as slots cut into a bigger two storey solid.