Re-valuing salvaged materials can unlock a sustainable future for our built heritage
Fitzroy Terrace is a row of 7 Georgian terraces built circa 1845, and is a state listed heritage item. The subject house, perhaps the most original of the seven, was in a state of serious disrepair. The brief was to provide a contemporary reconfiguration of the rear of the house to extend its life for the foreseeable future. The response established a series of codes to generate the new building forms. These forms are set out using springing points, levels and profiles of existing building elements.
A butterfly roof form transforms the main upper level. A breezeway is re-established, with a demolished laundry captured in profile. The shell of the original outhouse accommodates a new bathroom and establishes a profile for the studio structure extruded across the property. Another code was established for materials. Salvaged timber is left unfinished; new timber is painted. Internally, brickwork is sealed and left exposed. Ashlar render is left so the extent of the original buildings is still discernible. Where walls have been removed to provide openings, the cut brickwork is left exposed; where walls already had openings, jambs are simply lined with timber. Missing sections of original details such as balustrades, windows and thresholds have been replaced with respectful, clearly different adaptations of the originals.
The intention in establishing these codes was to enable anyone entering the house to be able to understand how the house evolved within a few minutes of being there- what was old, what was new- why something was the shape it was and how it was built. The house is an exercise in responsive, small scale details which collectively result in a new home respectfully wrapped around the existing heritage fabric. It shows that recycled (not reprocessed) materials can be part of a contemporary design response, and using simple planning strategies can result in a flexible, environmentally responsible architecture.