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Kooyong Residence

Timber Fins Rear Facade Timber Fins Rear Facade Shannon McGrath

Matt Gibson Architecture + Design

Victoria Entries 2011


Winner of The Residential Class 1 – Best Renovation Award, 2011




A storey of 2 pavilions this renovation involved restorative works to a grand old Victorian villa and a separate yet connected more expressive addition clad entirely in glass & timber.

Following the removal of a previous addition, the extensive brief requested an upper level addition, garage & pool. Our choice (given depth of the site) was to separate rather than attach the new works to the rear of the existing building which availed textured areas of external space between old & new ‘objects’. 2 levels of new timber clad ‘L’ shaped floor area were then stacked on top of each other at the rear utilising the limits of the site.

Layout Resolution
Ground level links are made between new and old buildings via a Garage and a circulation ‘bridge’ extending off the existing hallway. This hallway continues as a main axis through new and old to the rear of the site. Although the new works (clad in timber) are deliberately set apart as new ‘pavilion’, they are deliberately recessive from the street adding to the sense of cognitive interest once one reaches the end of the axis leaving little memory of the original Victorian dwelling.

Facade Materials
The warmth & sensuous use of the timber cladding and the employment of radii / curved corners within the apexes of the stacked ‘L’s also help to enhance a more sculptured and playful point of difference to the rigidity and masculinity the existing masonry building. The central courtyard area could have presented as the rear faces of the front and rear buildings however these spaces perhaps instead provide the most interesting spatial experience & reading of the history of the site. A glass prism openable to the elements links in a metaphorical bridge between old and new buildings. The ‘stacked’ floors of the vertical shiplapped timber façade combine and separate in opposite directions in a ‘paper tearing’ action accentuating the more sinuous and organic drama of the rear building.

Timber Fins
At the rear 70 solid blackbutt timber fins functionally address overlooking and solar emission concerns as they disperse gradually from east to north. Upstairs, the end bedroom required screening from overlooking the nearby Private Open Space whilst also benefitting from the northern sunlight protection. Whilst the Childrens Retreat area instead (being over 9m away from P.O.S.) didn’t require the same screening and conversely benefitted from being bathed in early morning sunlight.

The fins - driven by functionality in the beginning were modelled several times in terms of their rhythm and the graduation in their spacing so that when viewed from the rear corner of the site they would visually congeal at the eastern end to render a seemingly solid façade whilst breaking down at the other to be completely permeable. In contradiction the floor beneath acts in the opposite way setting up dichotomies of weightlessness and
groundedness.

Their graduation also introduces a diurnal kinetic element - during the day the fins remain in the foreground with the glass remaining dark & recessive, at night it morph’s to the façade being in shadow whilst the lighting and the interior become the attraction.

In Summary
This house is one that wishes to extend out and embrace it’s environs. Flexibility to open up the outdoors was encouraged. Fully concealed glazed sliders open up to both sides of the Living zone to enhance the breezeway aspect and provide unencumbered usage of the full footprint of the site. The flexibility of the timber cladding allowed us to provide seemingly solid elements whilst being able to manipulate wall thickness to conceal large sliding windows for example. Also, this material (unlike others) was able to be utilised in 3 dimensions, internally and externally allowing a very real dissolution of notions of interior and exterior.

Timber Usage:
Facade Shiplap:

  • Supplier: Radial Sawn Timber.

  • Species: Silvertop Ash

  • Profile : 90x19mm face fixed

  • Finish: Cutek natural


Garage door battens:

  • Supplier: Radial Sawn Timber.

  • Species: Recycled Blackbutt

  • Profile : 30x30mm screw fixed to door frame structure over clear acrylic.

  • Finish: Cutek natural


Internal floorboards and stair cladding:

  • Supplier: Urban Salvage

  • Species: Recycled Blackbutt

  • Profile : 110x19mm tounge & groove flooring.

  • Finish: Feast Watson Floorseal – natural tung oil satin finish.


Facade Fins:

  • Supplier: Eco timber sales

  • Species: Recycled Blackbutt

  • Profile : 140x65mm 2 piece centrally laminated to achieve 3.8m length without bowing and without need ofr centrally threaded rod.

  • Side bolt connection to steel cleats set 200mm clear of curtain glass facade.
    Finish: Cutek natural


Rear & Pool decking:

  • Supplier: Urban Salvage

  • Species: Blackbutt Wharfdeck

  • Profile : 130x32mm bugle screw fixed to sub structure.

  • Finish: Feast Watson deck oil – natural.


Internal Timber veneer to Joinery:

  • Supplier: New Age Veneers

  • Species: ‘Lamora’ limed oak to align with colouring of external timber.

  • Profile : Navlam genuine real wood veneer.

  • Finish: pre-finished clear satin polyurethane.


Why exceptional – we think the use of timber as the predominant material in this project allowed us to do something exciting and exceptional:

  • Material and form counterpoint with the existing building.

  • Sculptural aspect – curves – the sinuous & organic form is symbiotic with make up, honesty, warmth, natural patina and organic nature of the material itself – i.e. the form could not have worked nearly as well without the use of this material.

  • Inside /outside dissolution - ability to run the same material continuously – whether floor surfacing or wall cladding on a flush plane inside and out.

  • Wrapping of surface in 3 dimensions – wall cladding meets pool decking boards, first floor level facade becomes timber fin screen wall.

  • Fence meets wall – the buildings wall construction cladding was able to integrate with the fence cladding enabling a continuation of material & sculptural playfullness not possible with many other materials.
  • Colour change over time – eventually if the client allows the exterior timber to grey off with the intention it will assimilate colour wise with the colouring of the existing building.

  • Facade fins - we researched extensively fin sectional and species profiles that would span long distances enough to cover the height of the facade supported by concealed top and bottom connections but that would not require further secondary lateral support in the form of face straps or threaded rods. Engineers and timber experts were involved in providing prototypes that would not bow that provided a colour match with the silvertop ash shiplap - both silvertop ash and blackbutt unlaminated and laminated fins were tested – in the end the Recycled Blackbutt of high durability class with central lamination was utilised to stand the test of time!


Sustainable Design Principles:

  • Low embodied energy materials - use of recycled timbers and/or radial sawn timber materials locally grown from re-growth forests (Silvertop Ash). Re-salvaged blackbutt fins. Totally re-newable.

  • Use of recycled materials for existing building – brickwork reused, re-salvaged Welsh slate sourced from the Malvern town hall – situated locally.

  • Low embodied energy approaches through retention and recycling of existing building as opposed to demolition.

  • Room Layout and thermal zoning of the building – doors to zone off different areas.

  • High level of shading via eaves. Blinds installed to all windows.

  • Use of the Prism as a thermal regulator – winter heat sinc, summer – hot air purgable (enclosure is fully opened or closeable).

  • Solar strip heat collectors on the roof.

  • Large lightweight wall depth to enable greater insulation depth – R3.5 wall, R4.5 ceiling + blankets.

  • Exposed concrete floor (thermal mass) – hydronic coil heated.

  • Water harvested and collected in 3No. above ground tanks (no requ. for excavation) beneath the upper deck of the pool.

  • Orientation and configuration including eve protection.

  • Light and ventilation courtyards – good cross ventilation.

  • Use of Double and Low E glazing and the highest spec. Comfort Plus glass (lowU1.6) for the prism or any west facing glass.

  • Builder was affiliated green smart builder – utilised recycling, waste management and sorting strategies.

  • Use of natural materials – linen curtains, 100% wool carpets.

Entered into:
  • Recycled Timber, 2011
  • Australian Certified Timber, 2011
  • Solid Timber Cladding, 2011
  • Residential Class 1 Best Renovation, 2011
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