Chester Street

Mitchell Coll Coll Architecture
  • Category undefined
  • Floor size 74m2
  • Year completed 2014
  • Location Christchurch
  • Photos Stephen Goodenough


Front Facade




Project Description

This project was a complete rebuild of an historic inner city workers cottage which was irreparably damaged in the earthquakes. The original house was 74m2 on a 200m2 site. Due to the small site size the existing house did not comply with current planning standards, so the new build would have to fit in the exact building envelope of the original under existing use rights. We took this opportunity to update the interior layout for a more modern and efficient use of space, as well as return some of the original detailing which had been lost in previous alterations. The new design had to cater for the short term accommodation market. On top of this, the brief was to create a house that performed much better than standard new builds, both thermally and structurally, and be designed so guests could not tell that it was a new building and not from the time period of the original cottage. Design Features and Creative Solutions Where possible, all original materials were reused to maintain the character of the original cottage. All interior doors, some interior joinery, feature lights and the original vanity with copper waste trap were all carefully removed and reinstated. Replica interior trims were fitted and solid timber flooring was laid. Externally, the original cottage had the weatherboard plastered over in the 1960’s, so the new building had the weatherboards returned. The old plastered brick fire walls which formed most of the damage to the original house were reinstated with lightweight aerated concrete, required due to the low bearing capacity soil. Spatially the two bedrooms remain in the same locations but with sizes and proportions adjusted to allow for the best use of space and a more functional layout in the large open plan kitchen, living and dining rooms. The main feature to this area is the flow from the kitchen to the large dining room which opens out onto a small private deck. The house has a high 3.1m stud height but the smaller second bedroom and bathroom now have a lowered 2.4m ceiling height to allow for better proportions in the internal spaces. This also allows for the addition of a large usable attic space. As well as the aerated concrete and no windows, the new fire walls to the east and west boundaries were double insulated. The rest of the building insulation was bought up to well above code. That, along with the large north facing doors and windows gives a much more comfortable temperature to the interior spaces.