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Category Archives: residential

campsite – douglas river

campsite – douglas river

project: Campsite, Douglas River

location: Douglas River, Tasmania

description: ‘Campsite’ is a special remote place secluded within a stretch of dunes along Maclean’s Bay on the east coast. It is where an extended Tasmanian family, spanning four generations, has gathered regularly and re-created for several decades.

The original camp and gathering place of the family evolved into the first beach house in 2002 and was fondly called ‘Campsite’. The original home became recipient of both the Tasmanian Chapter RAIA Residential Architecture Award 2003, and the James Blackburn Triennial Award for Residential Architecture in 2006.

Birrelli were honoured to revisit Campsite in 2014, invited to extend and alter it for the ever changing needs of the growing family.

The challenge was to re-view the original design ideas, to plug-on whole new spaces and forms, and not dilute the core underlying design principles and values of this special home.

The original house was designed to maximise connections to place, a very beautiful coastal setting where peaceful quiet can turn to broody harsh conditions that swirl around in changing moods.

Selected views to mountain peaks are framed by windows, some are slots long and low while others are tall and slim, a dialogue exists within the walls as though a tension exists between landscape, clouds, sky, sun, moon that contrast united against an ever-present expanse of the line drawn by horizon over sea.

The residence was purposefully made as a zig-zag plan-form to provide ‘elbows’ nooks for refuge against the changing winds that bullet in unannounced from varied directions. Inside and outside connections are formed at two ground floor levels with varied threshold/door conditions set-up along the building perimeter.

New works include; upgrades to kitchen, bathrooms, a new kick arse fireplace, new doors and openings, new soft furnishings, refreshed tung-oil to old timber floors, a new deck and slab within the southern ‘elbow’ and general maintenance – all undertaken to give ‘Campsite’ a healthy and timely refresh.

The new additions and alterations enhance these important crafted connection within and around the house providing places of repose, contemplation and engagement with the sea and landscape. The new works provide now for even greater opportunities for either small or large family reunions to gather in response to aspect and prevailing weather on the day. Campsite has been re-created, re-imagined, a little bit of added excitement and new opportunities for the extending branches of a family.

New living spaces have been added sensitively to provide much need extra space for the bigger family. The new elements follow the original design intent making places as refuge – spots where family members can feel relaxed and secure within a wild and unique landscape. The ideas is to find nooks and spots to settle just like we feel when setting up camp under the stars, beside a tree, near a dune, close but removed from others all at the same time.

category: residential / Alterations and Additions

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table cape residence

table cape residence

project: Table Cape Residence

location: Wynyard, Tasmania

description: An old white farmhouse which once sat amongst green paddocks now sits amongst a growing patchwork of subdivided blocks, slowly creeping forwards. Looking up the hill, views towards the rolling escarpment of Table Cape, over the fence, beautiful simple timber and corrugated steel sheds. Chickens roam free and roosters crow irrespective of time.

An addition and facelift to the farmhouse to suit an evolving and growing modern family. A house for 2, a house for 12. The addition acts as a negotiator to the broader issue of the site whilst providing and nurturing a modern program for living. Simple pure formal geometries sing a chorus amongst the sheds. A skillion roof transcends and reverts to a gable along its length, creating a beautiful folded interior ceiling that directs the eye from the hills back across to view down the river to Wynyard. It is a form that accommodates the pragmatic requirements of daily urban rural life.

Games between old and new contrasts; stark freshly painted and repaired horizontal timber weatherboards conceals the long and expansive contemporary vertical black clad addition. Open plan kitchen, dining, living spaces which open to sunny, wind protected courtyards. In the old house, a compact series of reclusive spaces to work, sleep and hibernate.

3 courtyards shoulder three distinct inside outside experiences. Communal, private, personal, all exquisitely landscaped to capture the changing moments of sun, light and wind.

category: residential / Alterations and Additions

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port officer’s house

port officer’s house

project: Port Officer’s House

Location: Battery Point, Tasmania

Description: Port Officers House 1830s site meets 2017 on Salamanca Place

Port Officer’s House behoves that wonderful fascination… ‘What is behind that door?’

Situated on the end of a row 19th century terraces along historic Salamanca Place is a little house built on a tiny sliver of land measuring only 4 metres wide. It is the original site of the Hobart Port Officer’s residence c.1830, yet only two remnant sandstone walls remained along its boundaries. An original shed was recycled that fronts Salamanca Place now with two rusted doors and a contemporary mural depicting the Derwent River and Hunter Island – a rear-view capturing a scene prior to British colonisation. However, this impression belies what lies behind. Step inside and you enter a wonderland of intricate light-filled spaces that frame river, mountains, and sky views of Hobart.

The house is a compact arrangement of spaces carved out of convict built sandstone walls, cavernous underground rooms feature pick-marked blocks, now bathed in sunlight that descends through glass floors and skylights overhead. Main rooms lead out to expansive decks and a bedroom with a plunge bath looks into an enclosed delicate courtyard.

The result is a happy house, off-grid it is powered by solar PV panels, and whilst compact, it is expansive and filled with sparkling sunlight. The sort of place you’d want to stay in awhile, admire the harbour setting, but could also imagine having a delirious party in.

category: residential, heritage

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bennell way – writer’s retreat

bennell way – writer’s retreat

project: Bennell Way – Writer’s Retreat

Location: East Launceston, Tasmania

Description: Bennell Way is a beautiful 1860s elm tree lined walkway leading from the High street down into the town centre of Launceston.

This small project pays homage to James Bennell who arrived in the colony in 1834 as a house painter, carver and guilder and became one of Australia’s first speculative builders, a decorative artist and craftsman. He is perhaps unequalled as the most prolific individual building designer and developer of the colony. The house sits at the eastern bookend to a remarkable largely intact Regency set of townhouses that Bennell developed along Welman and Adelaide streets – these handsome townhouses form arguably the largest example of Regency rowhouses in the southern hemisphere.

The design brief – fix sub-floor ventilation issues in the main living rooms, to make a simple revamp of the kitchen and add a modern but modest intervention to connect inside and outside to allow a 21century lifestyle and importantly a place to read and write.

The new intervention in the rear garden is simply a garden shed, 4 x 6m, with bespoke steel framed glazed windows. It is inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s writing retreat, it is “a place to relax, switch off, listen to music, get some sun and contemplate the garden with a good book”.

The design follows a few key heritage strategies: ensure that the new is not confused with the old, where form and scale are respectful are balanced, and at points of attachment an articulation to reduce physical and aesthetic impacts. These simple ideas make more of less, are without fuss, and allow a heritage buildings to accommodate a 21st century lifestyle and make a place of wellbeing, well into the future.

The new garden shed has had a transforming effect upon a beautiful historic house, a once cold, introverted, unhealthy building now brings renewed joy and delight to a happy home on Bennell Way.

category: residential, heritage

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tamarleigh garden pavilion

tamarleigh garden pavilion

project: Tamarleigh Garden Pavilion

location: Launceston, Tasmania

description: The little garden pavilion at Tamarleigh is a small scale project with some big ambitions. The original outbuilding known as the ‘Lighthouse’ at Tamarleigh once housed an ingenious and rare 1906 Benzoline gas-generator.

This small-scale project, to create a little garden pleasure pavilion, set in course two ambitious objectives at Tamarleigh. Firstly, it became a rescue mission to save the remains of the 1906 gas unit and, secondly it set about to create a new building that directly referenced the original 1906 ‘lighthouse’ outbuilding, in so doing creating a new place of reflection in the garden.

category: residential, heritage

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hiawatha

hiawatha

project: Hiawatha

awards: Launceston City Council Heritage Awards: Residential Award 2014

category: residential, heritage

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shepherds boutique apartments

shepherds boutique apartments

project: Shepherds Boutique Apartments

location: Launceston, Tasmania

awards: 2008 inaugural Launceston city council heritage award

description:  A unique heritage listed building located in the Launceston CBD which originally functioned as a bakery with workers residences. The project consists of upgrading two existing units into high quality boutique style apartments, as well as the conversion of an existing bakery space into a studio apartment. Extensive research was undertaken to find the original architectural drawings and colour scheme. Previously painted in a prosaic muted Georgian colour scheme in off whites and pinks, it has now been repainted in line with the original colour scheme and once again features prominently within Launceston’s heritage fabric.

category: residential, heritage

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lagoon beach house

lagoon beach house

project: Lagoon Beach House

location: Low Head, Northern Tasmania

awards: Australian Institute of Architects Awards – New Residential Commendation

description:  Lagoon Beach House is set within a ‘hamlet’ of a few scattered shacks, with a wonderful lack of fences the site supports strong bonds between three Tasmanian families – 40 extended family and friends spanning four generations make this their special island retreat, a place for shared living and holiday experiences.

Lagoon Beach House while modernist in programme is nonetheless a contemporary shack referencing the Tasmanian shack vernacular. A minimalist geometry reminiscent of Jean Prouve’s elegance with economy of means the upper form of a honed wooden box, vertical boards that will change colour with time, floats over its white plinth.

Formed around the idea of a ‘town-square’ the house has an implied semi-public realm, yet the ‘positive’ pressure of the courtyard-piazza is paradoxically the intimate garden for the home. The sculptural form of this private retreat pin-wheels around the focal point of the courtyard, a ‘stage for living’ where Steve and Leonie express their individuality, connecting in varied ways the social life of the ‘hamlet’ with lagoon, beach, and interior spaces.

category: residential

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justin paul – apartment

justin paul – apartment

project: Justin Paul – Apartment

location: Launceston, Tasmania

awards: 2009 Commercial Architecture Commendation AIA,
2009 Launceston City Council Heritage Award – Best Attention to Streetscape

description: The apartment has hosted fashionistas Miss Universe Australia Laura Dundovic, Katie Davenport, Tottie Goldsmith, Lillian Frank and Anne Marie-Cooksley… ‘uber chic’, ‘funky chic’, ‘radical chic’ have all been used to describe this get away abode above the boutique.

Urban renewal and inner city living positively contributes to the cultural, social and environmental life of our cities. Hip, green and socially responsible. The common denominator is style. Justin’s apartment is ‘chic’.

category: residential

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freycinet residence

freycinet residence

project: Freycinet Residence

location: Freycinet, Tasmania

category: residential

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