Steph Richardson, John Liu
Text description provided by architect.
Escher House is a renovation and addition to a 1930s interwar cottage in Canterbury’s heritage Hassett Estate.
The design retains two existing bedrooms and the formal living and dining at the front of the home.
The extension accommodates a master bedroom suite, kitchen/meals, bathroom, laundry, and study/home office.
The design responds to the sloping site and restricted building envelope stipulated by the local heritage planning control.
By arranging the brief over four incremental levels, the home harnesses the site's potential and simultaneously creates elements of ambiguity and delight.
The intriguing play of levels and connection is reminiscent of the artwork of M.C. Escher, hence the name 'Escher House.'
Lowering the kitchen floor level at the rear of the home strengthens the connection with the backyard.
The existing floor level flows through and forms a walkway and seating around the meal table.
A whimsical stair leads up to the third level, accommodating a mezzanine study that overlooks the kitchen/meals area below.
The fourth and lowest level is tucked under the mezzanine and houses the laundry and a butler’s kitchen.
The split levels allow abundant storage and surprise connections, such as a pass-through servery between the main kitchen and the butler’s kitchen.
The extension is painted brick, sympathetic to the existing brick exterior, but the form is an intentional contemporary juxtaposition to the English cottage language of the original home.
While the two parts are strikingly different, they sit harmoniously together.
As a result, the home sits comfortably in its context and addresses its site and surroundings in a way it never did before.