A Home With Two Personalities

In her award-winning novel ‘How To Be Both’, author Ali Smith writes ‘beauty in its most completeness is never found in a single body, but is something shared instead between more than one body.’ While Ali was writing about an Italian Renaissance artist, the sentiment of separate identities coming together to create beauty is equally relevant today, and clearly evident in this architectural home!

We chat with architect Christopher Polly about designing the Binary House, a unique family home composed in two elegant parts.

Miriam McGarry

The Binary House by Christopher Polly Architect. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The kitchen in the new addition. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The 60s yellow brick ‘front house’ belies the modern extension in the rear! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The clients considered expansive living and dining spaces a major priority in the new design. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Incredible connection between indoor/outdoor. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Demonstrating the differences between the two ‘personalities’ of the 60s original facade and the contemporary addition! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The double-height living areas offer a generous sense of space. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Seamless transition between the two distinct halves. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The bathroom in the new addition. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Another view of old vs new. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Miriam McGarry
15th of November 2018

The initial brief for this stunning home was to transform a small three-bedroom dwelling without a dining room, into a four-room house with generous living and dining space. Architect Christopher Polly explains how this vision shaped the inventive design of the property, which is composed in two elegant parts – resulting in a double design!

The Binary House maintains the original street façade and ‘front house’, before the 1960s yellow brick home opens into an expansive rear addition. Christopher describes the dual composition as ‘a cellular and private front to the street, with an open and public rear that expands to its landscape setting.’ Private/public, old/new, contained/expansive – this property explores multiple contrasts to create a cohesive whole!

Christopher highlights how the original bungalow connects to the new addition through a ‘sharply folding form’ that ‘unlocks’ the front hall, light-filled courtyards, and connects the private and public spaces within the home. The new two-story pavilion includes a double-height living area, and this generous space is flooded with light and connected to the garden with landscape views.

The materials in the house amplify the binary concept, while also binding the property together. The brickwork in the new pavilions echoes the original structure, ‘while its binary play of considered honey and grey tones strongly reference the exterior yellow brick and grey metal of the two distinct structures’ Christopher explains.

The home’s double identities are singularly aligned in promoting a strong connection to place and landscape. The building offers privacy from neighbours, while simultaneously encouraging engagement with the garden and courtyard spaces. Two strong design elements, one incredible home!

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