Taringa House, Brisbane, Australia
Loucas Zahos

The Taringa house, originally a worker’s cottage is located in an inner Brisbane traditional street lined with character housing. The program, driven by the desire to accommodate the majority of family activity within the addition, has generated two juxtaposed but contrasting building forms defined in this text as the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.

Pragmatically, the ‘old’ cottage functions as an entrance from street level, also accommodating a guest bedroom, bathroom and overflow living space. The ‘new’ addition is the core of everyday living in the house. It contains the kitchen, main living area, dining and bedrooms. The existing cottage and the addition are articulated as separate identities. The cottage retains its principal role of addressing the street and tying into the existing street fabric. The addition faces the rear of the site and celebrates the landscape. The functions of the old and the new remain distinct; public and private, street and backyard, visitor and family, entry and living. The cottage retains much of its original detail, whilst the addition is contemporary in form, and not immediately apparent from the street.

Connecting the two contrasting building forms, a circulation spine creates a ceremonial entrance from the existing cottage. Materially, the off-form concrete of the circulation spine contrasts to the lightweight construction of the cottage and the addition. The cottage represented by traditional light weight all timber construction contrasts with the addition which is also light weight construction but offers transparency. The double height glazing to the main living space is steel framed, contrasting to the timber frame applied to the bedrooms.

Externally, the addition is clad in fibre reinforced compressed cement boards and perforated copper with a patina finish. The roof and walls partially enclosing the outdoor terrace to the rear of the addition are clad in the perforated patina copper on the inner lining and translucent polycarbonate on the outer lining. The perforated copper skin provides shade, whilst the polycarbonate skin provides waterproofing. This layering of materials creates transparency and translucency to the outdoor space, which is constantly changing across the day with the variation of light and shade.

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