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A Flood-Proof Transformation Of A 1960s Brisbane Home

Architecture

Extensive flooding in the summer of 2010-2011 devastated much of Queensland, affecting approximately 25,000 properties, and tragically claiming the lives of 35 people. 

One of the properties impacted was this Paddington house, where flood waters rose 1.5 metres above ground. 

Rather than demolish the existing 1960s home and starting over, the new owners engaged architects Lineburg Wang to extend and protect the existing structure from any future disasters. 

The result is truly inspired!

30th November, 2021

The new street-facing facade is conceived as a trellis, permeable to flood waters, giving the front garden to the street and passersby.  Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The entry sequence is set up along a 20 metre long brick pier entry spine that’s rich and moody and beautiful in its rigour and construction. Photos – Christopher Frederick Jones

On either side of the existing house are new additions, including the kitchen, dining, sitting and outdoor terrace to the rear. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

In the terrain of the floodplain (the undercroft) is a new red brick wall that falls away to piers, permeable to flood waters. Photos – Christopher Frederick Jones

‘The undercroft is robust, its new walls gappy and able to be hosed, its amenity and landscape a muddied palette of reds and terracottas to minimum habitable floor level, as if the waters had already coursed through,’ says Michael. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The palette is derived entirely from this site, its house and structures, and its landscape. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The construction of the existing 60s post-war brick and hardwood framed home directly influenced the material construction of the project. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Lush Landscapes landscaped the garden, designed by Lineburg Wang in collaboration with the client. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The new outdoor terrace and pool! Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Michael calls the completed project a ‘celebration of its constraints. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The garden is now drawn into the interiors. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

A tall gum tree is captured within the outdoor courtyard, its trunk belonging to and informing the interior landscape. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 30th November 2021

‘The brief was entirely in conflict with its site constraints, and we embraced these constraints as drivers for the conceptual design.’ – Michael Lineburg

The clients of this Paddington, Brisbane home were seeking more outdoor space and rooms with an immediate connection to the ground and garden. An achievable brief for many residential projects, however, this site was heavily burdened, with its ground plane compromised by flood levels and overland flow.

‘The brief was entirely in conflict with its site constraints, and we embraced these constraints as drivers for the conceptual design,’ says Michael Lineburg, architect at Lineburg Wang

Lineburg Wang not only met the client’s brief, but managed to save the existing 1960s home in the process.

For a new build on this site, flood planning provisions stipulated a minimum habitable floor level 2.5 metres above natural ground. Guided by the client’s love of the existing 60s post-war brick and hardwood framed home, an early strategy was devised to overcome these restrictions. ‘This meant the undercroft would be exempt from the flood planning scheme as an existing condition – a valuable 113 square metres that would otherwise result in increased height and a site covered in a new build,’ explains Michael.

In the terrain of the floodplain (the undercroft) is a new red brick wall that falls away to piers, permeable to flood waters, and forming the home’s entry sequence. ‘The undercroft is robust, its new walls gappy and able to be hosed, its amenity and landscape a muddied palette of reds and terracottas to minimum habitable floor level, as if the waters had already coursed through,’ Michael says. 

On either side of the existing house are new additions: the elevated main bedroom and roof garden at the front; and the kitchen, dining, sitting and outdoor terrace to the rear. The street-facing facade is conceived as a trellis, permeable to flood waters, giving the front garden to the street and passersby. 

The home’s palette softens as you climb into the elevated new and renovated rooms of the house. Silvers and greens reference the trunk of a 15 metre high gum captured as part of the landscape of the interior public rooms, contrasted with the rich and moody undercroft. ‘The project feels like a journey of two conditions – of the ‘muddied’ undercroft, and the silvered trunk of the captured gum tree,’ Michael says.

Michael calls the completed project a ‘celebration of its constraints. He adds, ‘Everything materially and spatially was in response to the challenging conditions to work with…It is deeply embedded in its site, and a careful response to its context, neighbour and landscapes. This is, for us, the most exciting part of the project.’

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