I’ve always enjoyed the work of Christopher Polly Architect. His practice is so aptly skilled at happily integrating the old and new, comfortably siting crisp black steel and white cladding up against old bricks and stone, and seamlessly refining exterior form to sit comfortably within its neighbouring architectural context.
Elliott Ripper House by Christopher Polly Architect
Elliott Ripper House is not a particularly recent project, but it is one of my favourites. Just look at it. It provides so many things all at once; but mostly it cleverly considers and manages the house’s architectural history by delicately layering new stories over the old. Fragments of the past show through here and there, whilst the new somehow references the past, effectively evoking our subconscious understanding of time-worn Australian architecture and materials without any inference at imitation. Creamy white weatherboards sit effortlessly upon the building’s original sandstone ground floor walls. These sandstone walls sit alongside black steel framing and both existing painted and new, raw timber windows. In this way, this rather largely invasive alterations and additions project easily maintains the original character of the house – in fact, if anything, it has given the house an even more interesting nature.
Alongisde a careful consdiration of materials, this project focuses heavily on deciphering the power of light and shade to create wonderfully habitable contemporary spaces. The building quietly and deliberately turns away from its big, overbearing neighbour and instead readily opens itself to the trees, fresh air, and sky to the north of the site. Its exterior walls disintegrate to reveal a real connection between inside and out, which not only accommodates contemporary living, but also has the poetic benefit of artfully annotating the passing of the days and seasons by way of the changing dappled light and shadow that that moves throughout the house.
All photographs by Brett Boardman and sourcced from Christopher Polly Architect