Cloaked Semi

The Cloaked Semi converts an existing single federation house into a pair of semi-detached dwellings, with laneway garaging with studios over, achieving two wonderfully bright and generous dwellings.

Context and Brief
The original house spans two existing lots predating the original federation house. These particular site circumstances present an opportunity for 2 dwellings; each located over the original lots without the need for further subdivision approval.

The street comprises a variety of free standing house types, including bungalows and older period dwellings. Some are narrow houses sited over their original 6 metre wide lots and others are located on wider lots corresponding to different periods of the subdivision. There is a fall across the site; side to side, as well as front to back. Council requirement reinforce retention of existing streetscape elements forward of the existing ridge line.

A rear lane provides the opportunity for garaging from the rear and separate access to the back via a central passage.

Design Approach
A strategy was developed facilitated by the fall across the site to incorporate 2 storeys within the profile of the existing roof which is extended towards the rear. The gutter line of the existing dwelling is extended, while the ground floor is split allowing the ground floor living room of each dwelling to be located at grade; the same level as each respective rear yard. The front door of the original dwelling becomes the front door to one dwelling while the lower existing side gate and passage provides an opportunity for a new side entrance to the other dwelling without modifying the front of the house. Accordingly the existing front 2 rooms of the house (corresponding with the portion of the house below the hipped roof of the original dwelling) are retained as bedrooms; one assigned to each respective dwelling. New stairways are incorporated for access to the upper level with each stair configured accordingly to suit the front or side entrance arrangement.

The Garages and studio at the rear are located at a much lower level to the original house and minimising the overall height and scale to the lane and yard. The mansard roof arrangement of the house is replicated in the studio’s roof in order to minimise any impact to the adjoining neighbours; by reducing the height of the wall along the northern and southern boundaries.

Design Outcomes
While the roof form of the new parts derives directly from the form of the existing federation house the new parts have a contemporary expression transforming from the traditional hipped roof presentation at the front of the original dwelling to the rear where it presents as a pair of mansards; each belonging to their respective dwelling. A dormer window in each side face accommodates a second bedroom to the upstairs.

The face brickwork of the existing house is extended through to the back while the new corrugated iron mansard roof is sleeved over the existing tiled hipped roof carefully mating the new roof to that of the existing federation house’s.

Compact courtyards between each house and their respective studios provide a pleasant outlook; a landscaped garden and trellis that screen the stairs to the studio.