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A House for Hermes 03 Residential 2013 m

A House for Hermes 03

Il Forno

ClientAnderson / Launech
ScopeArchitecture and Landscape Architecture
LocationVentnor, Philip Island
Budget400,000
Year2013
TeamCollaboration between SAALA & Andrew Simpson Architects

A House for Hermes is a collaboration between Charles Anderson and Andrew Simpson Architects. Sited on the northwest edge of Philip Island, the project involved the conversion of a heritage-listed chicory kiln into a couple’s residence. The design was conceived as part of an ongoing exploration of what might constitute “home” or “place” in a world where prevailing conditions are of movement, exile and change. This conceptual framing extends from a series of works by Anderson first begun in an installation at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in 2007.
The architecture is predicated, not on the rehearsed acts of enclosure or through the predetermined functions that define a house, but on the idea of facilitating and celebrating transformation and movement. Through the use of adaptive and reconfigurable spaces and the manipulation of thresholds and passages, the house is intended to be a place that engages with and is a catalyst for change. A sense of “open-endedness” – of new possibilities of inhabitation – is reinforced by the treatment of an interior landscape defined by contiguous interlocking volumes that encompass the exterior decking and surrounding context. This woven interconnectedness or spatial meshwork is a direct response to Georges Perec’s question: “We should learn to live more on staircases. But how?”
Divided into two primary volumes, the nucleus of the house is a reconfigurable kitchen in which the joinery works as the connective threshold between ground and first floor. This area is designed to accommodate a range of activities from group cooking classes to an intimate meal.
The kiln is one of three buildings set within a large coastal property adjacent to protected wetlands. The Coldon home (a guest house and artist studio) and Settlers Cottage (sewing studio) provide complementary amenities to the main house and along with an outdoor bathroom precipitate an engagement and traversal of the surrounding gardens and landscape.
The original heritage building is one of the few examples of early 20th century chickory kilns on the Island constructed from concrete. Substantial rebuilding and restoration work to the concrete was required due to significant structural cracking and spalling, which was undertaken through the use of insitu reinforced shotcrete. The decking on the north side of the kiln is integrated with a large concrete retaining wall and water trough that was originally built as part of the industrial function of the building and has now been tanked and refilled with water to provide a means of passive cooling.
As a heritage restoration and reconstruction project there were a number of challenges in providing a substantial improvement in the passive design of the building. For instance, limited changes were permitted to the extent of external openings, and the building works had to incorporate large areas of existing structural framing.
A number of strategies were employed to improve thermal performance. Existing windows were replaced with fixed double-glazed windows with timber louvered inserts to reduce the overall amount of glass while conforming to heritage constraints and improving cross-ventilation. Insulation and vapour barriers were incorporated into the roof by providing a second layer of structure over the existing roof trusses to create a new cavity thereby exposing the old structure within the interior. New lightweight metal canopies were introduced over the ground-floor north-facing windows to provide passive-shading. An operable skylight was introduced into the apex of the kiln roof to draw heat out of the building.
The concrete kiln was in a very poor state of repair with the first floor at possible risk of collapse. To improve the structural viability of the kiln the ground level component of the building (which is not inhabited) was reinforced with shotcrete and two external walls of the first floor were demolished and rebuilt in rendered polystyrene blockwork to reduce the weight of the building while providing a thick insulating layer on the northwest corner of the building.
In terms of material selection, as much of the existing cedar cladding as possible was retained and reused. The floor component from the previous A House for Hermes 01 installation at Tarrawarra was adapted and used for the ceiling.

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: interior (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: bedroom (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: bedroom (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: out door shower (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: out door shower (detail)

A House for Hermes 03: initial concept diagramming

A House for Hermes 03: initial concept diagramming