Tuesday 07 Aug 2012


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Inserting a modernist concrete house into a highly protected heritage area on the waterfront in Battery Point required a brave and determined team of clients, designers and builders!

Originally intended as 2 separate houses, this project evolved, after eventual Planning Appeal success, into an addition to an original weatherboard cottage. The resultant building, although a single residence, can be zoned onto separate areas allowing maximum flexibility of use. The compartmented design demonstrates that a large residential building can be designed and built to sustainable practices.

The overriding principle behind this building was to ensure that the client desired concrete and timber structure could be built sustainably. With a combination of specific material selection, inventive construction detailing and connection to low carbon energy services, the resultant 7+ star building, built on the southern side of Battery Point, is a warmly greeted success.

Timber was also a crucial component in the insulation of the building. A desire for 'floating' concrete floor slabs, with visible edges, gave rise to the use of a timber framed curtain wall glazing system, which forms an insulation envelope around the outer face of the concrete structure. Together with thermal breaks between indoor and outdoor floors, the Western Red Cedar framed window system ensures no part of the internal concrete structure is in contact with the outdoor air, the choice of Western Red Cedar for the window frames coming from its workability in lieu of celery top.

The choice of celery top pine as a major component was due to its strength, durability and its aesthetic appeal.  We were lucky to locate a FSC certified merchant locally who already held a supply of logs. We were thus able to design the celery top beams, columns and detailing to suit the available lengths of the unmilled logs. Once the beams and columns were milled, we utilised the remainder of the logs for cladding, fascias and joinery ensuring minimal waste of the material. Crucial to this was the acceptance of the quality of the material provided from the milling process.

Being a beautiful timber celery top was the natural choice for most of the internal wall linings, doors, door pulls and bulkheads, the detailing of these items being tailored for this material.

Maria Gigney Architects