• DODDS HOUSE Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia | 1998 - 2001

    A site located in Sydney’s city fringe suburb of Surry Hills presented an opportunity to develop a small multi-level urban house which responds to its mixed context of small terrace houses, warehouses and the 1960s Readers Digest headquarters.  The house forms a bookend to a row of Victorian terrace houses in the manner of a traditional corner shop or public house, many of which still exist in nearby streets.

    The simplicity of form and material produce an exterior which relates to the surrounding industrial and commercial buildings but with an overlaid rigour and refinement expressed through the 1200mm cladding grid and the fine texture of the aluminium louvres covering all visible window openings.  All dimensions of the house are controlled by the standard 2.4 x 1.2 metre cladding panels which are only cut at window or door locations and all off-cuts are used to line the inside of the roof parapet.  All external elements are painted the same silver/grey with shadow, texture and detail providing the only surface relief.

    Internally the house is almost totally open plan.  It has a transparency and generosity of space due to the double height volume of the living area which incorporates a mezzanine bedroom.   This space is further visually extended though aluminium framed sliding glass doors which open onto a north facing courtyard and 600mm wide pond running the length of the eastern side of the house.  This pond separates the new house from the side wall of the neighbouring terrace house which has been left in its existing state as a rough brick wall on sandstone foundation blocks to clearly distinguish between the masonry construction of the traditional house and the light weight framed construction of the new.

    The two levels of the interior are linked by a folded steel plate stair and a yellow joinery unit.  On the lower level this yellow box contains the laundry and kitchen storage while on the upper level it is the wardrobe for the bedroom.  The only fully enclosed volume is the bathroom which is expressed as an aluminium clad pod within the bedroom.  The steel stair continues to rise behind the wardrobe on the upper level leading to a roof terrace with views of the surrounding district.

    Photographer: Daniel Mayne

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