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Sedimentary House

Melbourne 2011-

The sedimentary house project is a new renovation and extension project exploring the layering of occupation within a small domestic project in inner-northern Melbourne.

Similar to way that depositing sediment in rivers and oceans over time forms new types of rock, buildings undergo gradual transformation over time, and absorb traces of their history throughout their lives. Like stripping back wall paper to reveal the layers of fashion – the sedimentary house project reveals and celebrates this layering, or historical sedimentation, and makes it explicit, via formal transformation and visual cues in the interior.

The house sits within a heritage protected street scape of 19th Century timber workers cottages. The existing building is stretched along its long narrow site, pressed hard against its western boundary, with rooms hung of the interior corridor, and like many of typology struggles to gain access to daylight.

The form of the heritage building is taken as the point of departure for the new work, extending this shape along the length of the site, but flipping it to the eastern boundary - drawing light and air deep into the plan and introducing a courtyard at the center of the plan. This formal transformation is effected as a gradual transition as you move through the length of the building from old to new – a timeline of the building’s evolution, expressed formally and via detailing particular to the stylistic strata along the path from 1820 to 2011.

While the street frontage of the house restored, respecting its contribution to the heritage streetscape, the gradual transition from old to new goes full circle with the rear elevation arriving back to the shape and proportion of the street frontage with a contemporary interpretation of it’s materials and composition.