Cubo House by PHOOEY Architects

Cubo House by PHOOEY Architects

Architects: PHOOEY Architects
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Year: 2013
Area: 4,413 sqft
Photo courtesy: Peter Bennetts Photographer
Description:

Located in Fitzroy North, this project comprises alterations and additions to an existing double storey heritage-listed dwelling.

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The small & dysfunctional rear portion of the existing house has been demolished & replaced with a new contemporary and sustainable three storey house (including basement).

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The front double storey Victorian section has been entirely retained & upgraded. Many existing features, such as structural & flooring timbers, windows, doors, security grilles & the stair case were salvaged prior to demolition.

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Slate roof tiles salvaged from the old roof now form part of the new façades & the old security screens have been assembled to form a dual purpose sun-shading & privacy screen over the new rear window.

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The project applies the surrealist technique of “Cubomania” to catalogue, re-use & re-invent the demolished building materials. Embodied energy was minimised by balancing the quantity of demolished materials against the quantity of materials brought in to replace them.

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This technique is evident in the external brickwork & corresponding adjacent landscape and is followed through within the various carefully detailed internal spaces.

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The existing house suffered from limited solar access as it was the southern component of a semi-detached pair. The responding design includes a central light-well which delivers natural light & air to the new basement & all adjacent spaces via a window wall made of windows salvaged from demolished portions of the old house.

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The old stair which presented safety concerns has been removed. Some of its salvaged elements have been fashioned into a chandelier, and some into a loft bed to provide bedtime fun for the smaller occupants.

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The new bespoke stair spirals above & below to create a voluminous entry foyer & connect all levels. It is the new heart of the house & is the mixing pot between the restored old front parts of the house & the new (deliberately modern) rear. It is a place to comfortably get where you’re going or just to hang out.

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Cubo House is an energy & water efficient home with many sustainable features cleverly hidden away. The re-purposed old materials (which might otherwise have been discarded) are presented so as not to disguise their original purpose & therefore provide an accessible display of adaptation & re-use.

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