Matthew Pullinger kindly, and bravely, opened his recently completed house in Alexandria early one Saturday morning. DARCH took advantage of the outdoor BBQ to cook breakfast for everyone and visitors spread out with sandwiches while Matthew described the transformation from small workers cottage to generous family home. The focus of the house is the ground floor communal spaces, where almost every wall slides away and the views out to the street and surrounding eucalypts make it feel much bigger than its modest footprint.
The second tour was an afternoon trip across the bridge to see SJB’s adaptive reuse of Walter Burley Griffin’s Willoughby Incinerator and a new house by Bijl Architecture. Charles Peters of SJB discussed the restoration of the 1934 heritage building which included the repair of the triangular decorative concrete render which was Griffin’s signature motif. The Incinerator restoration was completed by SJB in 2011 and currently functions as a café and art space. ‘Intersections: The Art of Architects’ is currently showing at the Incinerator Art Space. Exhibiting artists Sarah Fitzgerald and Simon Grimes were present and discussed their works which investigate the liminal boundaries of art and architecture.
Following coffee at the Incinerator the tour met Melonie Bayl Smith at Naremburn House, the new family home her practice designed on the edge of a conservation area. The dwelling comprises a series of overlapping volumes and surfaces that encapsulate the clients’ desire for a family home with ‘no boring square rooms’. With natural finishes and durability in focus, materials and colours were selected for their capacity to reflect light and capture movement. The house is a play between robust exterior form and material palette and light and delicate internal spaces.
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