Puzzle Box by Amrish Maharaj Architect

Puzzle Box is a project designed by Amrish Maharaj Architect. Although well located in suburban Newtown; close to public transport, well-desired cafes, and public parks, this modest two-bedroom dwelling was quickly becoming cramped for the owners and their young daughter. Photography by Vikram Hingmire.


“When planning for their second child, the owners contemplated a common conundrum – renovate or sell?

The home had been renovated by the previous owner, a builder who had reconfigured the second bedroom as an oversized bathroom, and nestled the master bedroom in the attic space, accessed only by a steep and narrow stair.

Given the opportunity to test options as the owners browsed property sales online, we looked at the spatial arrangement as a complex puzzle.

A successfully solving this puzzle required a contemporary and spacious first floor addition that unobtrusively sat above the the existing ground floor and connected to the attic bedroom. Almost paradoxically, the addition would need to connect, while providing a clear separation between all elements, in keeping with appropriate heritage values.

A modest 3 square metre infill to the ground floor allowed for a restrained and delicate reconfiguration, to accomodate a new contemporary stair and dining room in the centre of the house, taking advantage of a wide side access and skylights to flood the space with natural light.

On the first floor, a new light-filled hallway connects the existing attic bedroom with two new bedrooms and a modern bathroom, all orientated north to capture direct natural light, and distant tree views.

A new master bedroom to the rear is provided with a balcony to take advantage of a borrowed landscape, while providing privacy screening to, and from neigbouring properties.”

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