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: : Substation House


Photography: Brett Boardman

In association with Emili Fox / project architect

The shell of a disused electrical substation on a small (100 sqm) site was the catalyst for an exploration of space/ void and materiality, designed in association with fellow Sydney University graduate Emili Fox.

The 2003 RAIA Awards jury commented as follows:

It is a highly inventive example of how to insert a progressive piece of domestic architecture into a heritage listed site. The substation’s front wall, its public face has been left untouched. It is separated from the new house by a walled courtyard, where a trench which once housed electrical cables has been converted into a fishpond. Another original deep trench cutting a swathe through the ground floor, open plan living area is used as a wine cellar and storage area.

The living area opens widely both to the front courtyard and a small garden area at the rear, featuring a tiled wall of cascading water. The living area is connected to three bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper two levels by a stairway of timber treads and decking, which is crowned by a dramatic curved ceiling featuring a light slot. In keeping with the industrial heritage of the substation, the house incorporates a palette of robust no-nonsense materials: concrete walls and floors, exposed steel, rendered brick, zinc roofing and recycled timbers.

Architecture Bulletin 2003

Gerard Reinmuth of the Architecture Review commented:

Complex issues presented by the project – the relationship of the new building to the existing substation walls; the dialogue between materials and details in the new and old work; urban design considerations of overlooking and privacy within a tightly packed block; and the resolution of relationships within the gallery/residential program – offer a rich basis for exploration.

Architecture Review - Residential Issue 2002

Project Team: Emili Fox, Sam Crawford, Paul Huxtable, Chris Fox, Michael Fox

Heritage Consultant: John Oultram
Landscape Design: Anton James
Quantity Surveyors: Northcroft
Builder: Paul Reyners
Council: Woollahra

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