An imaginative architectural extension to a Hermit Park Queenslander, affectionally dubbed ‘The Bath House’, has been shortlisted at the national level for the Australian Institute of Architects awards program.
When Kerry McIlroy and Sue Cole approached Stephen de Jersey Architect about an extension to their Hermit Park Queenslander they had already spent years thinking about the project. Originally they had a far more extensive scheme prepared by others that was not within their budget so they decided the essence of their brief was to construct a deck to extend their living space over their well-established garden.
“We believe that under the current economic conditions, people are seeking design solutions that are not only cost-effective but also provide spaces which are multifunctional,” Stephen says.
“We see our role as architect to lead a creative design process that leads to these kinds of solutions, regardless of budget.”
“We strategically placed our practice here in Townsville to provide high level design solutions to our region. The solutions are globally sophisticated but locally generated.”
STEPHEN DE JERSEY
Like many houses of its type, Kerry and Sue’s home had had a bathroom added directly to the rear, separated from the house by the landing of the back stairs. More recently they had installed new kitchen joinery, with a pantry in the space between the bathroom and the corner of the house. However, the bathroom on the rear of the dwelling blocked the connection between the kitchen and the garden.
“In this project, we had an opportunity to reinterpret the two components that have been typically added to old Queenslanders – the bathroom and the deck,” Stephen says.
“Reworking the kitchen, demolishing and replacing the bathroom and adding a new covered deck has created a series of light-filled rooms that take full advantage of the garden view. It’s unusual for a bathroom to be external despite the fact Townsville’s hot and humid climate lend themselves to this solution.”
The existing kitchen joinery was also reconfigured and a new walk-in pantry added. A long sliding window now provides a servery connecting the kitchen to the covered deck, which has become the main entertaining area. Stairs between the deck and the bathroom provide direct access to the backyard and a new sunken garden room underneath.
“From the existing house the ‘borrowing’ of space through view to the deck and beyond to the garden have created a feeling of being a part of the outdoors,” Stephen says. “The deck and bathroom connect visually with tree canopy and sky through light wells and strategically placed openings. We were pleased to hear after completion that the client’s friends have used the deck to stay overnight in the cooler months.
“We find our design approach leads to unanticipated experiences that aren’t usually briefed but always value-added to our projects.”
Stephen was drawn to becoming an architect when he experienced the construction of his parents’ house under the guidance of some other esteemed local architects in Clayton Pemberton.
“I’ve found I really enjoy multifaceted problem-solving through design,” Stephen says. “We strategically placed our practice here in Townsville to provide high level design solutions to our region. The solutions are globally sophisticated but locally generated.”
The Bath House has already been awarded at regional and state level and was recently shortlisted at national level for the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) awards program. Over the past six months the project has had a constant flow of juries and other architects inspecting the project. It was also used for a drinks and dinner function as part of the recent AIA regional architecture conference, attended by a multitude of highly respected national and international architects.
“Kerry and Sue have been very accommodating and wonderfully supportive hosts to all of these activities,” Stephen says.
“They are very proud of the space and have been enjoying using it and sharing it with their many friends and guests.”