In the suburb of Ascot Vale, northwest of Melbourne, architect and photographer Jaime Diaz-Berrio teamed up with architect Mark Allan of Crosshatch to create a 484-square-foot rear extension for a two-bedroom bungalow. The reconfiguration and expansion of the now 1,560-square-foot residence adds a third bedroom, bathroom, and central living lounge.
This is the second project that Crosshatch has designed for this client, a young family who love the character of their old Californian-style bungalow but realized they needed more space for their growing children.
The duo named the project Tetris Extension because the forms of the new addition are arranged in a Tetris-like configuration that’s expressed in the plan, elevation, and section.
"The interlocking volumes unite the form and function of the old and new," says Allan. "The Tetris concept is further iterated through the interior detailing, including bespoke cabinetry and custom kitchen door handles."
The house’s original Californian bungalow facade was retained, so the modern extension is not visible from the street, and only reveals itself as the user walks through the old house.
The additional 484 square feet allowed the architects to reconfigure the floor plan to accommodate three generous bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a sun-drenched, central courtyard that can be accessed from the kitchen/dining area, living room, and the kids’ play room.
The backyard, which was previously completely disconnected from the house, is now integrated into the design with large window openings that enable the interior spaces to flow out beyond their physical boundaries.
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The 15-foot window in the extension is the focal point of the project, as it marks the connection with the existing house, creates a substantial volume in the kitchen, and frames views out to the beautiful gum tree on the rear property.
"Working with an old building always poses a few challenges, as you never know what you might find once construction starts," says Diaz-Berrio. With this in mind, he and Allan ensured that their intervention only "gently" touched the existing building with minimal structural alterations.
"Our self-imposed challenge was to resolve the family’s functional requirements in the most efficient way whilst creating a memorable living environment," he says.
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