Heritage houses are a double edged sword for an architect, especially if it’s an own home. Located in Collingwood, Victoria, despite having an Individually Significant rating the property was in a pretty dire condition having been stripped of nearly all of its heritage fabric and character.
Early concepts for the re-development tended to focus purely on Planning and meeting local guidelines – looking to maximise the potential of the site rather than consideration to the existing cottage. Using the height of the apartment block to the north as a guide, various schemes using 3 levels were explored. [Collingwood was on the up and up] and maximising the site potential seemed to be the sensible [financial] way to go.
As Robert Nichol & sons learnt more about the cottage and the Collingwood Slope district they decided that there was great value in the history, that it was important to ensure it was preserved. The house name derives from an association with Edward Crisp, an Irish brewer who established the Burton Brewery in nearby Cambridge Street. It was a pre-fab cottage imported from England during early settlement of the 1850’s.
The design has opened up a small confined cottage into a free-flowing airy residence. Once past the original portion of the dwelling, the use of extensive glazing and north facing skylights flood the interiors with light. Large sliding doors open up to the outside areas with seamless floor levels. Structural elements have been left exposed adding visual interest to the interiors which emphasise and celebrate a range of natural finishes – plywood /oak /steel /bluestone /cement. Concealed behind the angled roof form is a large roof terrace which brings the primary outdoor space up to a level where solar access is guaranteed and is easily accessible from the living spaces via a sculptural external steel and wooden stair.