Ola Studio have completed a project called ‘Garth’ which is located in Northcote, Melbourne. Garth was once a frayed 19th century Italianate Victorian masonry building that has been restored and supplemented by a wooden addition to make more space for a family of five + two dogs.
The original dwelling is shaped in one solid form with all rooms contained within a single volume. When considering how to add to what was already there, a conscious decision was made to approach the design with architectural contrasts and similarities. The new building adopts the forms of the old, but varies their sequence and size to create a series of intimate internal and external spaces. Externally the new addition reads as a reserved collection of rigid forms stacked on top of, or next to one another, while the internal circulation functions as a seamless transition from one defined space to the next.
In contrasting the pale palette of the heavy masonry dwelling, the new build appropriates a lighter material in timber with a dark finish. The black textured finish is achieved by charring the timber which also preserves it. The heat converts the resin of the timber into cellulose which then becomes its own lacquer protecting the timber from weather and rot and effectively rendering the material as a zero maintenance timber cladding.
Similar in scale of footprint and mass, and both reserved and devoid of unnecessary detail, the two buildings sit side by side with a calm air of confidence and presence within their landscape.
Photography by Derek Swalwell