There are so much to love about Andrew Maynard Architects. As I wrote when we gave him our Best Young Architect Award in the Best of Green 2010, "as his body of built work grows, it shows every sign of the humour, talent and environmental concern of his conceptual work." Now he demonstrates it again with the Butler House renovation.
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It is a renovation of a loft in an old warehouse that suffered from a lack of outdoor space, and "had a number of innate thermal and acoustic shortcomings - making it less-than-ideal for occupancy by a family with 2 rambunctious young boys. Balancing intimacy with privacy came to be a significant consideration for this young family and is achieved via shrewd adaptability of spaces."
The solution to the problem was so unlike what we usually see, where each child gets his own bedroom sealed off from the rest of the house. Here they don't want to be disconnected, just tone it down a bit. And the kids have to share a room.
A very open, vertical path of stairs allowed sounds to travel to all corners of the dwelling - their path helped by ubiquitous reflective surfaces in steel and concrete. The challenge was to reduce sound transmission, but not to a point of isolation - the family still very much enjoyed the connection allowed by cross-level communication. The solution was found in celebrating the very thing that made this house different - it's vertical nature.
An adjustable vertical spine was fashioned from floor to roof, creating a flexible isolation between levels. Operable louvres allows controllable degrees of isolation; timber shelves, which in time will fill with miscellaneous objects, offers further resistance; a strip of lusciously-green carpet flanking the spine introduces a much-needed soft surface. A stack effect was also fostered, where strategic ventilation allowed purging of hot air to the terrace during the summer months.
One never quite knows how much tongue Andrew has tucked in his cheek when he makes statements about his work. I recall that in the Tattoo House, he wrote that "Every element needed to perform multiple functions for maximum return- hence the kitchen bench becomes part of the stair," even though the opposite was true in this case. Similarly I don't link much noise will be absorbed by the adjustable slat wall and the green carpet. But it is lovely to look at.
I love the little alternating tread stair between the beds.
There are other things to love besides the architectural work; Andrew knows how to deal with the design blog world, giving us lots of downloadable pictures, drawings that explain the project and good copy. It is just a pleasure to write about him; other architects could learn something from Andrew Maynard Architects.
Andrew Maynard's Mash House Lands In Backyard
Andrew Maynard on Sustainable Design and Teen Sex
Andrew Maynard's Airdrop House: Just Add Water
Poop House by Andrew Maynard
Andrew Maynard's Suburb-Eating Robots
BOB Gets Around: Andrew Maynard's Mobile Home
Vader House by Andrew Maynard- A Hidden Gem
Stair of the Day: Andrew Maynard's Tattoo House
Protest Structures to Save Styx Forest by Andrew Maynard
Design Pod: All Your Home Office Needs, Now in a Convenient Pod