This project explores alternative notions of the nuclear household and questions the prevailing idea of what constitutes “family”. The clients are a female couple expecting their first child, who live in an existing semi-detached weatherboard dwelling in Williamstown.  Occupying the footprint of a previous lean-to extension, the design is planned as a counterpoint to the outdated notion that “a woman’s domain is the kitchen”. In this project the kitchen is inverted to form a perimeter to the hearth of the home — being the meals area.

The extension reflects the pragmatism of low-cost construction that must also comply with difficult planning restrictions. Internal arches provide a means of negotiating setbacks while gradually revealing both the house and its occupants towards the garden beyond. The extension consists of new kitchen, meals and living space, with a custom designed exterior outhouse that forms a staged backdrop to a new outdoor dining space.


Project Team: Andrew Simpson, Owen West, Stephan Bekhor, Dennis Prior
Completed: 2007
Builder: Owner-Builder
Photography: Christine Francis


images drawings