Multi-generational living is rapidly inserting itself into common vernacular and becoming a familiar way of life for many. The brief for this project was precisely that for Construkt director Madushin Amarasekera’s family and his mother and father-in-law; design two homes under one roof, provide a level of separation yet still encourage regular moments of interaction between the families. When working out how to design spaces to allow for this and for the older and younger generations to happily co-exist coincidentally created the perfect metaphor on how to sympathetically integrate the humble, old 1940’s state house with the modern extension – respecting the character of both when it came to integrating them. The existing was one of many state houses constructed in Mount Roskill during the 1940s and 1950s so retaining its original character was essential, the new alteration and extension had to share a genuine link. Native timber extracted from the original house was re-purposed in the new addition and provided this authentic link extending the parent building’s material narrative with it; machined Rimu studs and paneling, Matai flooring re-purposed as stair treads, cabinetry (bathroom vanities, screening, kitchen Island bench etc) and infill flooring still bear the scars from a past life; Bora trails, blackened holes from rusty nails and even remnants of stubborn, entombed nails provide genuine character. Original doors and window hardware were all refurbished and re-used in the parts of the house where suitable. Another important consideration was the retention of the existing backyard for their two young children which forced the extension vertically.
A modest budget required intelligent and creative solutions to juxtapose a contemporary extension which comfortably engages with the original’s vernacular. Existing slabs and structure were carefully utilised and integrated by way of stitching the existing with new. Contemporary forms, colour and material palette define the addition which comprise of three elements strategically placed to best utilise the original structure; a bold extruded gable wrapped in a raw corten standing seam spans over the original footprint of the house, a secondary Cedar clad ground floor extrusion extended the existing detached garage and a thirdly a double height space linking the two provides vertical circulation (with an 8m long skylight above channelling natural light to the living areas below).
A 72m2 minor 2 bedroom dwelling shares the ground floor with the main 3 bedroom unit’s living (bedrooms on level 1). Both units are primarily accessed via a shared lobby with a secondary door allowing entry to the minor dwelling and providing added separation. Purpose designed shared and private spaces allow a perfect construct for this family’s multi-generational living.