Mt Stuart Greenhouse by Bence Mulcahy
Bence Mulcahy has designed the Mt Stuart Greenhouse project in Hobart, New South Wales, Australia. With just under 4,000 square feet, this modern dwelling takes advantage of Mount Stuart’s positioning and frames beautiful views in every direction.
Culverden circa 1900 takes advantage of Mount Stuart’s elevation and aspect. Orienting away from the street, towards Hobart and the Derwent River it occupies a large allotment with an expansive private garden. Culverden displays typical features of its federation italianate style: asymmetry, a narrow two story square entry tower and a timber verandah detailed with filigree iron balustrade. The house is red brick with a sandstone base, complete with tall corralled brick chimneys with glazed chimney pots.
The project involved:
– demolition of the failing 1986 glasshouse addition and replacement with a new kitchen and dining room,
– a new en-suite and walk-in robe serving the master bedroom
– expansion and reconfiguration of existing ground floor bathroom to provide level access from the guest bedroom, and
– associated landscaping including a hot tub time machine.
The client stated a desire to live “engulfed by the garden”. The new addition was conceived as a garden room, conservatory or green house. The new dining and kitchen space grows from and encloses the southern corner of the existing house. As one moves though the house traces of the new present themselves by degrees, culminating in the kitchen dining area where the full extent reveals itself. The kitchen is a bookend to the formal route through the house and connects the upper and lower landscaped terraces.
Upstairs the en-suite and robe is accessed directly off the master bedroom, and is suspended above the kitchen dining area. The new addition shares formal characteristics with the existing The sandstone base makes a connection between the existing building and the landscape and anchors the new work. The green house addition contrasts the existing internalized spaces of the existing residence. Transparent yet deliberately and overtly structural, it captures the gardens proximity and formally sets up a relationship with the existing verandah but also practically provides opportunities for shelving and order to the kitchen.
Generous in volume, the space expands upward capturing the scale of the immediate vegetation and views of the city, yet sits subserviently under the soffit of the existing house. Hand crafted details and materials blur the distinction between the existing and new, and provide continuity of pattern and texture though the space. The project presented opportunities for local artisans and specialist trades including an industrial blacksmith, heritage plasterer, metal worker, ceramicist and materials such as tadelakt, brass and sandstone. Raw crafted natural and handmade. Materials that age and develop a patina were preferred.
A lived in space. The new addition is double glazed for efficiency and incorporates a custom designed thermally capped system. It is naturally ventilated with custom made steel casement windows and high level operable ventilators It is serviced via the existing homes heating system. For the clients, a busy professional couple and their children, the Mount Stuart Green House provides a stage, for family life connected to the garden and verandah, in a manner complimentary to the quality and craftsmanship of the existing home.