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Building for Diversity

In 2006, CODA won a national ideas competition that led to the provision of architectural services for a $10m mixed use building for Foundation Housing. The project responds to the client’s vision and supports the revitalisation of Northbridge set out by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority (now MRA).

44 hostel units, 16 key worker apartments, a caretaker apartment, 9 commercial tenancies and the restoration and conversion of a heritage warehouse to a cafe all sit on the 1190m2 site.

From the outset CODA looked to interrogate the brief and challenge the status quo. Our scheme challenged the site’s height restrictions, proposing a “small tower” building for the hostel accommodation with a lower building on the boundary of the site containing apartments and small commercial tenancies.

This configuration allows for a northern orientation to each habitable room whilst successfully addressing the need for cross ventilation. By increasing the height of the tower, the centre of the site was also freed to become a communal courtyard.

The project celebrates the richness of natural materials in combination with the whimsy of colour. CODA worked with four artists to fully integrate public artwork into the building fabric, making this a true building for the community.

Waranyjarri Display Village

CODA were engaged by Landcorp to be part of an assessment and selection panel which selected 8 house designs, by 8 local builders, to be constructed as part of a ‘display village’ at the entry to the Waranyjarri Estate. Given its location at the major entry point to the estate, it was essential that the selected houses not only showcase local builders and their designs, but that they set a precedent for future development within the subdivision.

As authors of both the Broome North Housing Guide and the Broome North Design Guidelines, CODA ensured that each of the houses selected for the display village were appropriately designed for the Broome climate and compliant with the desired character and aesthetic of the Waranyjarri subdivision. Following this, CODA worked with the successful builders to ensure the success of their designs, a process which gave us a unique insight in construction methods, cost effective strategies and standardisation options for Broome housing.

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 H

The original house sat within a large, breathtaking landscape yet the interior was inward looking with minimal views of the garden, bush and vineyard beyond. The brief from the clients was to connect this relationship between inhabitant, building and scene to allow contemplation of the landscape.

The extension is seen as a sculptural counterpoint to the existing low-slung rammed earth bedrooms and garage. Its undulating and sculptural form was a direct request by the clients who, over the past decade, have developed the 20 or so acres of manicured garden into a private sculpture park.

In building the new wing that extends toward the rise the house is situated on, the living areas have been reoriented north to maximise natural light and also allow views not previously available without walking outside.

In addition to the aspirations of the clients we explored the limits of the project’s structure. The project was developed through a close working relationship with the structural engineer, Steve Burdett. Primary structure, roof and walls work independently of one another creating points of tension and ‘accidental’ collision throughout the project.   The roof uses a prefabricated self-supporting sandwich panel. These are spaced according to maximum distances set out by the manufacturer, and refined through solar testing. The long span portals are braced by a fine ribbon of plywood that winds it’s way around the house. At points this plywood ribbon is wall like, in other locations it’s surface carries lights, or conceals services. It is continuous along the entire perimeter of the extension, and divides the lower operable doors and the high level glazing.

The brief was for new living spaces both internally and externally.  An open kitchen, living and dining room was built with a smaller scaled sitting room and study located behind the service core of kitchen, pantry and powder room that divide the main volume.  A large cellar was carved underground. Within the original buildings the bedrooms were retrofitted, bathrooms reconfigured and a new ensuite built.  Externally spaces were developed that operate at a range of scales from small, intimate sitting spaces to larger entertaining spaces.  Important to the scheme was the need to for the house to easily accommodate two people or a hundred. The point at which old meets new is a hinge, a courtyard that frames the sky. In contrast to the main living areas this space offers no views to the landscape.

Environmental sustainability informed many of the decisions made on the project.  Cross ventilation, passive solar principles and natural lighting determined much of the planning.  Grey water and recycling systems are integrated into the design as well as an underground tank to provide coolth to the floor’s thermal mass.  Steel is used extensively.  Other materials include prefabricated R4.0 insulated roof panels, low E glass, recycled timber floorboards, plantation timber, ply cladding and recycled jarrah decking. Importantly, most of the existing house was re-used, reconfigured and a new stage of life for the clients and their wonderful site has been created.

Move Apartments

The Match Group engaged CODA to provide Design Development services for an entry level apartment project in North Coogee which had a previous Development Approval for 81 dwellings. CODA completed the design review within 10 weeks and most significantly, increased the number of dwellings by 25 units to 106. The development will now be comprised of 57 single, 44 double and 5 three-bedroom apartments. This change in density was formally approved by the City of Cockburn (through a revised Structure Plan and DAP amended by CODA).

Underlying this project was a desire to capture and reflect the post-industrial landscape of North Coogee and the greater Fremantle area. This was achieved through the use of robust, context appropriate materials that ensure longevity in the face of an often harsh, coastal environment. Working with only a handful of materials such as face brick, exposed steelwork and cladding, has anchored the building firmly within Fremantle’s established architectural framework. We have also given the CODA brick (designed for the award winning Think Brick competition) a guernsey on feature walls throughout the project!

Various passive, sustainable initiatives like improved cross ventilation, dual aspect apartments and allocated space for visitors’ bicycles have been incorporated into the design wherever possible. An outdoor room, or extended balcony, becomes a focal point in each apartment and acts as a continuation of the indoor living spaces. Whilst activating the building from the street front, these balconies contribute also to a sense of community within this unique development.

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.

East Port 5

Won through an invited two-stage design competition.

Situated an hour south of Perth, adjacent to the booming region of Mandurah, East Port 5 is the last remaining stage of the Port Bouvard development. Fifty-nine carefully crafted and luxurious apartments are located in an urban cluster on an island designed by us to allow all apartments to have northern facing open space, balconies and views to two major bodies of water, the inner and outer canals and the Peel Estuary behind.

The apartments are split into several smaller scale buildings that respond to the site in differing ways, creating a village feel and enabling urban scale public open space interventions. A sculptural caretakers house (also designed by CODA) sits as guardian to the inner canal and watches over the Entry Bridge.