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PMH Psychological Medicine Reception Area

In 2011, CODA were approached by the Psychological Medicine Department at Princess Margaret Hospital to improve their waiting space and shift it from the generic sofa and toddler toys that are typical of a hospital waiting space to something that engaged with the diversity of the users of the space.

The waiting area is constantly occupied and often requires children and adolescents to wait for up to an hour while their parent attends an appointment. Our initial brief development meetings with the client allowed us to experience firsthand the space and observe these users. The need for adolescents to have some independence from parents was immediately obvious.

The project had two major constraints that ultimately lead to the opportunities of the project.  Firstly the site area was extremely constrained and very little, if anything could be done to the fabric of the interior space. Secondly, the project had a total budget of $6000 including toys.

Through the removal of a single partition wall we were able to take over a small, disused space and create an L-shape to work within. The scheme itself inserts an object into the centre of this space, away from the walls, creating a continuous ribbon of activity that spans the range of ages of the client base whilst allowing for age appropriate levels of adult supervision.

Execution of this tiny project would not have been possible had it not been for the generosity and collaborative nature of the people who ultimately delivered it. Carpet and rubber were donated, ply was discounted and rooms were painted. The Subiaco Men in Sheds donated their time and over several weeks and in addition to the painting, tackled the complex geometries of the plywood modules and the necessity for on-site assembly.

This project reinforces the importance of architecture at every scale and the generosity of people to make a real difference through small, incremental improvements.

In July 2012, the PMH Psychological Medicine Reception Area received a Commendation in the Small Project category at the Australian Institute of Architects Awards (WA).

CODA Studio

Our new studio re-pitches the practice from “home office” to medium size  in the heart of Fremantle.

It was really important to us to maintain and enhance the warmth and familiarity of the previous studio space whilst creating a flexible, open, dynamic workspace using natural, non-traditional materials.

From the outset we established that all new insertions should be recyclable and removable at the end of the project life without damage to the building.

The project demonstrates that it’s possible to create a sophisticated professional workspace, moving away from highly manufactured materials toward a robust natural palette that seeks out texture, warmth and celebrates imperfection. This is not a token gesture but forms the logic for the entire fit out.

Basic construction materials are reframed expressing both their materiality and assembly. The new timber stair binds the two levels together, spatially and materially, with the open plan workspace upstairs and the lower level given over to social spaces for meeting and amenity.

New ply insertions are read against the backdrop of the existing warehouse. The stair edge thickens on the upper level to house the job files, maintaining views over and through the stairwell as you circulate about the upper level.

Colour plays an important and subtle role in binding together the elements of the new studio, contrasting and enhancing the warmth of the exposed materials.

We believe that contemporary workspaces should invite individual participation in the creation of the work environment. The studio creates a backdrop for these choices, allowing lighting levels and thermal comfort to be assessed individually. Though the sourcing of vintage furniture we were able to reduce the number of resources required to complete the project.

Plasterboard and laminate were not specified in the project; even the desks and storage were fabricated from ply and steel.

Additionally recycled elements such as the barn door, concrete cisterns and vintage furniture were incorporated into the design. This has the dual benefit of achieving a more sustainable project but also embedding a sense of history through their tactility and imperfection.

In 2012, this project received an Interior Architecture commendation at the AIA Awards and the Australian Interior Design Award for Best of State (WA) Commercial Design.

House H+H

Located on a 197m2 corner block in South Fremantle, House HH negotiates the interface between private living space and the public realm. This contemporary addition forms a poetic extension from the rear of what is a quintessentially Western Australian workers cottage.

The core driver for the project was to create an open plan living space and improve the amenity of the outdoor area. Through the subtle manipulation of the volumes of the house, we were able to maintain a generosity of space whilst ensuring a connection to the light and space outside. The footprint of the addition is no greater than the previous lean-to, however the space has shifted from a traditional house and yard to merge the threshold between interior and exterior.

At the street, a full height louvered strip acts as the stitch line between old and new, giving glimpses of the interior to passers by as well as a connection to the outside from within. This grafting of new to old is evident through the building interior with the steel structure exposed and wall thicknesses subtly shifting to distinguish between old and new.

The house sits on the corner of a street lined with workers cottages built within the same era and we were mindful of the strong visual and physical impact of an extention to a corner site with zero setback.  The material palette was critical and this is illustrated through the new flushed limestone face contrasting sympathetically with the rough walled texture of the original edifice.

The extension provides a point of interest along the leafy streetscape without overwhelming or intruding upon the surrounding architecture.

The grafted addition to the rear allowed for the heritage front of the house to remain intact and be completely restored.  We worked closely with the engineer to ensure that the connection between old and new was elegant, read through the subtle registration of steel structure and the introduction of natural light.

The project budget was closely monitored through out the process with very few variations occurring during the construction process.  The overall project budget was $521,508 with a new internal floor area of 52m2.

This project demonstrates that on a small plot of land it is possible to create a light, generous space by enhancing the connection between the interior and exterior.

Through the large, folding doors at the rear there is a complete breakdown in the threshold between the two. The requirement for mechanical cooling systems is almost negated and the occupiers of the house are able to embrace the sea breezes year ‘round.

The owners have expressed their delight with the property. They are comfortable in the new space and feel that the project responded to the as they hoped.

House H+M

The Round House is a holiday house, designed for a family with a connection to Yanchep that predates the brick and tile McMansions we have come to expect along our coastline as the freeway extends and makes suburbs of holiday hamlets.

The building is a study in pure geometry exploring possibilities for simultaneous privacy and connection for a family with four young boys, two of which have severe disabilities.

By coring the building’s spaces at the centre and edge, protected outdoor spaces have been created. These are occupied but also have the potential to be borrowed – where light and views across and through create a sense of spatial generosity.

The house is simple, modest, light, colourful, playful and private. It balances the desire to connect with its beachside location and the desire to maintain a degree of privacy.

Building on a single level at the top of a dune ridge meant that cut and fill was avoided, creating easy access for all occupants and expansive views.

The Australian beach house is re-imagined and reconfigured via the circular plan. Transparency internally means that views across and through the house allow the parents to keep an eye on the children while allowing a measure of independence.  The two older boys are in the complex position of wanting more privacy as they mature but also needing closer care as their health deteriorates.

The light filled centre creates a strong point of reference as the sight of the boys deteriorates and colour has been used to create reference points internally.

Within the current brick and tile suburban fabric of Yanchep, the Round House is remarkable in its “otherness”. The round form is reminiscent of water towers that dot the coastline and provides a dramatic counterpoint to the squat, squareness of the surrounding suburbia.

Proximity to the ocean and the ridge top location created strong exposure to the sea breezes.  Whilst wanting to take advantage of these for cooling it was also necessary to create sheltered outdoor spaces that could be used at all times of the day.

Early on we sought to constrain the overall footprint of the project to meet the client’s budget.  This along with their aspirations for a relaxed holiday home lead us to search for a building form, a robust material palette and sympathetic planning to deliver a project that exceeded the client’s expectations of the space with ease of ongoing maintenance.

On the north and west elevation shading has been integrated into the walls via deep window reveals. Water is collected from the roof and stored in the large tank beneath the house with a heat pump system for domestic hot water. Recycled decking has been used throughout for its aesthetic and environmental appeal.

There has been minimal intervention to the existing contours of the dune allowing natural vegetation to remain undisturbed. The house footprint is 135sqm, reducing the overall energy consumption in building materials and running costs during occupancy.

House W

Norfolk Farm is a small property located in a rural hamlet in the South West of Western Australia, belonging to a semi-retired couple and shared, on occasion, with their adult children.

This house adjoins a series of existing functional farm sheds used for painting, shearing and maintenance. The guiding design idea grew out of these ubiquitous three-sided structures – planned to face away from the strong prevailing winds of this part of the country.  The house wraps around two sheltered and sheltering courtyards out of the wind, the rain and the sun. It is a study of pure geometry with spaces created through conceptual incision and carving.

From beneath the square roof plate at the heart of the project, a series of interior and exterior spaces have been carved to maximise the range of connections to the landscape and effectively create a one bedroom dwelling. To the south-east of this core a secondary, north facing, (half a) “farmhouse” has been built containing 3 bedrooms and an additional bathroom.

The material palette is generated from the robust existing sheds but given new meaning and relationship to the landscape through the combination of complimentary and bright reds and green as well as the lush golds of the joinery and cladding.

Despite its modest footprint, the house is easily able to accommodate fluctuating numbers because of its ability to expand and contract. It can operate as a one bedroom, one bathroom house or extend to add another three bedrooms and an additional bathroom.  This allows for flexible living conditions as well as a degree of intimacy with the landscape.

The golden tones and banding of the cladding mimic the surrounding trees. Colour used in the roof cut outs frame the sky and casts a colourful glow that draws out these colours from the native planning that surrounds the house.

The house doesn’t require vast amounts of energy to moderate its temperature due to careful planning, north facing glazing and deep sheltered spaces that protect the interior from the heat of the day. Cross ventilation in all spaces means rooms can be quickly purged when the house is opened at weekends after being locked up for the week. In addition, there is a heat pump hot water system, wood fired heating (that uses fallen timber from the farm) and recycled floor and decking remilled from construction site waste.

This project received a Residential Architecture Award at the 2012 AIA Awards and a High Commendation at the 2011 Houses Awards.

House B

The client requested an extension to their federation cottage that referenced the aesthetic of an industrial warehouse. From the street the new extension is invisible allowing the heritage streetscape to remain intact.

The decision to control the integration of the addition to the existing house via a slender walkway had the effect of clearly demarcating the old and new, forming the central courtyard and limiting the cost of tying in new to the old.

The walkway slips in under the old roof and allows for minimal disruption to the workers cottage at the front. The living/dining shed sleeves onto this and connects the courtyards. Finally, a garage tucks in under the first floor and continues to the ROW.

The division between inside and outside has been broken down to provide new informal spaces. A screen wall of polycarbonate starts at the entry on the side boundary, moves inside to become a translucent wall to the robe and stretches to become a garage wall/pool fence. These are backlit, illuminating the pool and living spaces.

The project reorients the house from its southern disposition toward a north facing courtyard and living room. All the spaces now enjoy excellent cross ventilation.

This project received an Architecture Award in the Alterations and Additions of the 2009 AIA Awards.

House M

Having lived in the house for eleven years, the clients came to us with a desire to reinvigorate it and to maximise their space without drastically altering its original fabric. They had a vision to alter their relationship with the garden and to open the kitchen to become more interactive with the rest of the house.

By shifting the location of the carport to the north-west of the house, we were able to insert an outdoor living space to the front. This space acts as a visual bind between the garden, kitchen and living areas whilst providing additional footprint allowing the family to more comfortably co-exist in the house.

This project received an an Architecture Award in the Alterations and Additions category at the 2009 AIA Awards.

Horse Barn

Our pro bono program enables our entire practice to engage in voluntary work to assist community-based groups to pursue or complete projects for their organisation. This program helps strengthen social responsibility as a core value of our business.

In 2008 we heard that a residential drug and alcohol facility was looking to build a horse barn in order for their clients to help rehabilitate abused horses. We approached them to offer both our design and ‘construction’ services. We sought to reuse as many of the materials as we could from the farm itself and develop a construction system that could be executed by a group of enthusiastic but largely untrained ‘builders’.

The total budget for the project was $7000 or $25/m. The existing structure was largely maintained and strengthened. Steel tracks from a previous hydroponic tomato system were reused to provide the structural components for walls and barriers. Within these a system of painted panels were inserted creating spaces for grooming and training, as well as additional accommodation for other animals such as goats. Colours were selected for their capacity to be both uplifting and soothing for the residents. External cladding provides increased weather protection.

The project achieved a triple bottom line in sustainability objectives through extremely economical construction, recycling and adapting existing spaces and community and social interaction.

This project received a Small Projects Commendation at the 2009 AIA Awards.

House SB

House SB has been designed for a family of 4 with a passion for entertaining. The house is ambitious in its use of space and opportunistic in the relationships it sets up between interior and exterior spaces in achieving an overall feeling of generosity whilst being sited on a 240m2 block.

The building looks to add something to the texture of Fremantle through a contemporary interpretation of the local vernacular. Within the surrounding blocks there is a diverse mixture of limestone federation cottages, Italianate and Portuguese houses.  The house learns from these precedents and reinterprets them in a contemporary manner.

The site itself sits at the western end of South Street in Fremantle close to a busy intersection. The building asserts itself to the front façade boldly hovering above the carport with a large tiled recess carved into the front.

The ground floor contains the kitchen, living and dining spaces, opening up to the rear garden complete with pizza oven and barbeque area. Large bi-fold doors allow this space to connect and expand as the interior and exterior become one.

Upstairs four bedrooms, a laundry, ensuite and bathroom configure around a large, oversized internal space that is used as a study, play room and library. An upper deck outside the main bedroom extends views across the neighbouring backyards and leads, via an external steel stair, to the expansive roof terrace above, with 360-degree views across the Fremantle harbour and back to the Beaconsfield ridge.