Birchgrove

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Project
An understated and modest house, which aims to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. It has a planted green roof, and is set into a sandstone cliff, ‘stealthily’ appearing as an extension to the garden of the Heritage listed Victorian house behind it. Abundant natural light and framed harbour views toward Cockatoo Island are maximised at every opportunity. The plan arrangement is simple, with private sleeping areas to one side of a central deck and courtyard, and living areas on the other side of the same. Prefabricated construction methods have been holistically considered as a part of the design and material choices due to the restricted site access, speed of build (to minimize disruption to the neighbours and the site surrounds) as well as reducing waste material. The brief also included reconnecting the Victorian mansion to the boatshed on the foreshore by way of a stairway. Again, material choices for this were carefully chosen to reflect and blend in with the surrounds. Steel, painted harbour bridge grey and large Tallowood timber sections for stair treads is in keeping with the jetties below. The approval process faced many administrative challenges, including concurrence from the Harbour foreshore committee, heritage consultant review and numerous geotechnical reports but was worth the effort with the DA being unanimously approved by Leichhardt Council.
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