Located in Fitzroy North, Cubo House by PHOOEY Architects comprises sustainable alterations and additions to an existing double storey heritage-listed dwelling. The alterations and additions celebrate the history of the original home via restored existing elements and upcycled features. Past and present are tied together using the surrealist technique 'Cubomania'.
The small and dysfunctional rear portion of the existing house has been demolished and replaced with a new contemporary and sustainable three storey house (including basement). The front double storey Victorian section has been entirely retained and upgraded. Many existing features, such as structural and flooring timbers, windows, doors, security grilles and the stair case were salvaged prior to demolition.
Slate roof tiles salvaged from the old roof now form part of the new facades and the old security screens have been assembled to form a dual purpose sun-shading and privacy screen over the new rear window.
The project applies the surrealist technique of 'Cubomania' to catalogue, re-use and re-invent the demolished building materials. Embodied energy was minimised by balancing the quantity of demolished materials against the quantity of materials brought in to replace them. This technique is evident in the external brickwork and corresponding adjacent landscape and is followed through within the various carefully detailed internal spaces.
The existing house suffered from limited solar access as it was the southern component of a semi-detached pair. The responding design includes a central light-well which delivers natural light and air to the new basement and all adjacent spaces via a window wall made of windows salvaged from demolished portions of the old house.
Reusing the Old Stair
The old stair which presented safety concerns has been removed. Some of its salvaged elements have been fashioned into a chandelier, and some into a loft bed to provide bedtime fun for the smaller occupants.
Melting Pot Spiral Stair
The new bespoke stair spirals above and below to create a voluminous entry foyer and connect all levels. It is the new heart of the house and is the mixing pot between the restored old front parts of the house and the new (deliberately modern) rear. It is a place to comfortably get where you’re going or just to hang out.
Cubo House is an energy and water efficient home with many sustainable features cleverly hidden away. The re-purposed old materials (which might otherwise have been discarded) are presented so as not to disguise their original purpose and therefore provide an accessible display of adaptation and re-use.