Dawson House, Adelaide Hills
A modern cottage that breathes with its surroundings
Australian Institute of Architects, Award of Merit (Archicentre Renovation), 2000
Two very busy people with two very active children were very attached to their cottage in the Adelaide Hills. However, the cottage was in dire need of attention. To upgrade the house into a modern retreat for work and play, Tectvs envisaged a simple addition to the original cottage to open up views out over the garden and Onkaparinga River. A series of simple spaces would reflect the relaxed style of the owners.
Tectvs applied equally simple passive/dynamic sustainable design principles, appropriate for the time, to reduce the house’s environmental footprint, including specifying traditional oil finishes and cement paints; plantation timbers; and construction techniques, materials and finishes with low embodied energy, and a water system which reticulated grey, rain and river water, along with an aerobic sand-filter septic system which enabled the re-use of greywater for irrigation.
The new house featured two main spaces, comprising the original cottage facing the road and the addition facing the river. They were connected by a revamped lean-to which housed the shared spaces of entry, laundry, and bathroom. The two rooms of the cottage were connected, and French doors inserted to provide an outlook to the garden. The main volume of the addition was divided by an open fire - living/dining/kitchen on one side, master bedroom the other – and expanded by an external balcony.
The final result still holds strong, and yes, the views are still just as good.