Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Will Street - Week Eight

Framing complete

WOW - We now have wall and roof framing !!  During week eight, all wall framing, both interior and exterior was erected, with roof trusses going into place at the end of the week. 

With framing now completed, it is getting easier to see what the finished product will look like.  For those who haven’t seen the plans, the two new bedrooms (to the right hand side of shot) will be recycled cream bricks with a tiled roof, which is intended to respond to the existing look and materiality of the existing house.  Here we have re-used some of the old windows from parts of the house that have been demolished.  On the left hand side of the picture, will be the new kitchen, dining and laundry.  This part of the house is to be spotted gum vertical timber cladding, which will run vertically on the external walls and then wrap horizontally across the new deck (not constructed yet).  This will form the outside entertaining area.  This part of the house will also have a sheet metal roof and will clearly appear as an extension, signalling a new era for the life of the house. 

People often have mixed opinion on whether an extension should be made to look as if it was always part of the original house, or whether it should clearly scream “I am new !!”.  My personal opinion is that it depends on the house; the age of the house, the architectural style, how intact the house is to begin with, whether the existing and proposed parts of the house are seen together and also the client’s taste in architecture.  Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to exactly match the colours, materials and features of a house, and to be honest, sometimes you wouldn’t want to.

With the Will Street project, we have taken a bit of an each way bet.  Firstly, you can’t see any of the new extension from the front of the house.  For this reason, we have decided to leave the front façade of the house completely original.  Built in the late 1950’s, this house was never going to win any architectural prizes, but for me, that is no reason to carve up a perfectly good example of affordable residential housing, which at some stage would have been someone’s pride and joy.  It is well proportioned and still remains an attractive house to this day.

For part of the extension, we have continued some of the architectural styling from the era, without replicating it exactly.  We have retained original proportioning and material, without trying to make it an exact match.  This part of the extension is saying, “the old house has still got plenty of life in it – celebrate the work our predecessors did, and give it new life”.  The other section of the extension is designed to be a totally new and different style.  Here, it was difficult to extend the existing roof line outwards, without completely changing the look of the rest of the house, so it really gave us the green light to create a new era for the house.  This part of the extension should read almost as a new square to an old patchwork quilt, where the old quilt was too small, or got a hole in it.  It says “the old house is great, but just needs repairs and to be a bit bigger”. 

Anyway - what was the alternative ?  To pull the old girl down and put up something new ?  Well, yes, we could have done that, but sometimes there is merit in reusing, recycling and taking something that has performed so well for so long and respecting it enough to give it life well and truly into the 21th Century.  Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to keep the original.  I believe that these decisions should be made on a case by case basis.

So for this project, the work continues with gusto.  Next week, the recycled windows go in, and the roof tiles and roof sheeting also goes on.  Brickwork will start to go up in two weeks’ time.  The idea is to make it to “lock up” around two weeks before Christmas. 

So far, Fred and the boys on site, are running perfectly to schedule - even though there have been the odd few delays (like the asbestos) to date.  Here’s hoping for good weather !!

Stay tuned ….

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