In a leafy area of Clifton Hill, Moorooka, characterized by mid-century homes, this typical 1950s chamferboard house sits low to the street, and largely hidden. However with a steep slope to the rear of the block, the back of the house was positioned up in the tree tops. The addition of a large roofed deck in the early 1990s, had further increased this detachment with the ground plane, and with a young family, it was important to create a better connection with the garden, and the subtropical climate.

A mature brushbox tree, located directly to the north of the house, provided the inspiration for the design of the new extension, in the play of light and shadow it projected onto the former deck.

New living areas were created on the lower level to connect with the garden, below the existing roof to the original deck, which was retained, creating a double height void. This space is wrapped in polycarbonate cladding, which provides a ‘projection screen’ for the shadows of the brushbox tree, and the ever changing patterns and qualities of light. The sense of being below the tree canopy is re-created, and connects the occupants to the garden, climate, light, and the changing seasons. The dynamic angle of the upper storey family room, cuts through the middle of the extension, and directs the eye outward to the garden, from deep within the house.

The ‘treetop experience’ has been preserved in the design of a new family room on a mezzanine floor, which overlooks the living space. This area opens onto a small private viewing deck or ‘bird hide’ from which to enjoy the leafy surroundings.

The hardwood timbers from the original deck were reused to frame the new decks on the lower level, and brick and concrete rubble from demolition works was reused in gabion walls within the landscaping, to reduce construction waste and environmental impacts.
Moorooka Brushbox House
Photographer : Colin Hamilton & Trace Studio
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Trace Studio Architects
Artwork : Kelly Southee
Artwork : Melaine Playle, Graham Davis, Roger Lane
Artwork : Kelly Southee
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