Officer Woods – WA Architecture Award Winner
Officer Woods is a multi award-winning Architect firm founded in 2007 by Jennie Officer and Trent Woods.
At this year’s WA Architecture awards, they received the Peter Overman Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) for their Monash Avenue design.
Jennie Officer talks to design-estate about this home and design process taken on the journey.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of the job?
This project aims to demonstrate the value of a common suburban dwelling in Perth – the Inter-war brick and tile Californian Bungalow. Rather than demolishing it and starting afresh, this project enhances the character and functionality of the original house by retaining and extending it.
Bungalows such as this are typically compact, placed in the middle of lots, with desirable character features of hardwood floors, art deco detailing and high ceilings. However they are often compromised by poor internal/external relationships, kitchens in awkward positions and lean-to extensions that restrict solar and physical access to rear yards. By retaining the character rooms as bedrooms, making a direct link from the front door to rear garden, and designing a modest yet spacious extension for new warm, light filled living areas, this bungalow has become a valuable and desirable setting for modern family life.
What was design process behind the home?
The challenge of this project was designing an extension to a house with a superb south facing garden aspect. New living areas on the south side of the house were designed to directly relate to and enhance the garden setting, while a great deal of effort was made to admit winter sun and warmth to living areas.
The design seeks to take in the breadth of the lot and in doing so, create a varied set of spatial relationships to the garden. The design process consistently adhered to the wishes of the clients to transform the way they live on the property, whilst retaining the character that initially attracted them to it.
Describe the site characteristics?
The extension acknowledges pre-existing site characteristics as well as creating new conditions. The existing house had a very limited relationship with a fantastic rear yard. The owners loved some of the aspects of the existing rear lean-to, and we found this ex-back verandah to be one of the most pleasant and most-used rooms in the house. So, in the living areas that replaced it, we tried to address its deficiencies but capture its volume, materials and brightness.
Building mass is arranged so that the original bungalow is not overwhelmed by the extension, but also so that the extension has its own distinct disposition and volume. Making a distinction between existing and new fabric was achieved by using similar materials in different formats and designing a wide threshold with compressed volume, which doubles as circulation/storage spine, between the existing house and new addition.
What was the backbone of the project and most noticeable material?
The wedge form of the extension directly relates to admitting winter sun to darkened concrete slabs for thermal storage. A combination of optimised solar penetration and shading, despite the southern orientation, ground coupled thermal mass and effectual cross ventilation has resulted in thermal stability year round.
A stepping plan deals with the falling topography by stretching out the level changes in a slow way through the house and garden, making the ground plane much more integrated throughout. Painted bricks, concrete floors and recycled jarrah cabinetwork and flooring are the most noticeable materials and will require little maintenance in the future.
What is you personal favourite part of the home?
The carport – designed as much larger than it needed to be, so that it could accommodate cars as well as be a great open covered area for play and parties, connecting the street and the rear garden.
Photography by: Acorn Photo