CIfA 2019 Award for Architecture: Arklow Villa III – Douglas & Company Architects


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This small residential alteration transforms an insular single -storey Victorian-style rowhouse into a new delight.

The heritage street frontage of the original house and street is maintained with the traditional veranda and roof profile that matches the existing except for two new small dormers in the street facing roof. A new bedroom floor is added by lifting the roof to the south. This type of Victorian alteration is not new but here it is done so that every part is ‘just right’.

The dormers are just the right size, the new veranda detail is minimal but playful by re-using the existing steel railing in a new red. SA Pine is the one material for floors, doors, windows and ceilings. It works with the existing timber trusses and ties the spatial exploration together. The use of this one material is just right for this small space and it feels bigger as a result.

The stair is resolved with a double bend, bent black steel treads and cylindrical spiral handrail at the top that marks the centre of the space which is neatly divided on both floors into private bedrooms on the east and public living spaces on the west.

The green stone counter in the kitchen is the one flash of opulence and colour. It is minimal and elegant. The previous darkness is banished through new tall doors and full height glazing to the south and a narrow row of fixed glazing to the south between the floor joists which washes the dining room ceiling with light.

The design has a clarity and simplicity in plan and section.

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