Henry Street House

Eugene Cheah Architecture


This project is a renewal of a Victorian Cottage. The brief was to invert the existing enclosed, divided internal spaces, and create generous spaces closely connected to the external environment, on a narrow built-up site.

Cornices and roses of the existing ceilings serve as ornamentation and define rooms. This approach is appropriated for the extension, where the undulating ceiling form delineates kitchen, dining and living areas, giving scale and suggesting edges to the spaces.

The project was delivered on a tight budget, which required a disciplined approached to the design process. The architecture is distilled to its essentials - the portal structure is the expression, the structural bracing is the internal plywood lining, and the same plywood is the joinery.

The structure, cladding and ceiling of the extension is a singular material - Hoop Pine - acting as a unifying texture. This renewable resource is used in the form of laminated timber sheets - one of the most efficient and therefore sustainable, responsible and economical ways to use timber. 

Structural elements are employed as the main expression of the building fabric and define the experience of the new space. A full-length skylight on the north edge of the space brings in abundant light, which is filtered and diffused by the exposed rafters, changing through the course of the day, and amplified by the varying depths of the rafters.

The resultant space is warm and textured, with diffuse natural light and dynamic shadows that animate and give character to the space. The skylight doubles as an indoor hanging garden, with greenery draped above or hung below the structure. The experience of the house is of the tracks of sunlight and shadow moving across the space.

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