Newtown – The Abridged History – Part 2

Newtown is well and truly moving along at a cracking pace.  An admirable feat for a client team of owner/builders overseeing the invoicing and construction works alone and for their first project.  Well done gang, you set a very good example of what can be accomplished on a limited budget and no doubt limited sleep.

I was so pleased to go to site the other evening and have a chat with the client about the progress of the build and to hear such positive feedback.  Especially in regards to the not insignificant portion of the budget that it was necessary to allocate to the resolution of on-site drainage.

When I first visited the site it was during winter and the side path was in a pretty serious state of disrepair.  The concrete had completely cracked up and most worryingly, the main site drainage area was located at the bottom of the path and was so blocked as to be causing structural damage to the external wall.  This appeared to the result of excessive run-off from the rear lane, which was a good 2500mm above the lowest point of the path and had the effect of undermining the footings and generating cracks in the brickwork.  Not a great sign.

I alerted them to the matter and we developed a design strategy that ameliorated both the drainage and the solar-access issues.  This culminated in a new internal courtyard, which I am please to say looks fantastic.  But importantly, the new concrete side path now joins up with a new slab below the internal timber deck courtyard.  This now efficiently drains the whole site and the house appears to no longer suffer the effects of all of that standing water around its footings.  It may sound really inconsequential, but water ingress is always a critical area to get correct and was actually an area that had to be adressed in order of any development to be worth pursuing.  Couple this resolution with the inclusion of a new 2000L rainwater tank and you have a very sustainable solution to the on-site drainage.

So, it is was great to hear the client say that the rectification works to fix the drainage was some of money best spent on the project.  I had warned them that they would end up spending money on something quite unglamorous and I’m glad to hear that they understood the wisdom in these works and that they are happy to have carried out them out.  And this is partly why I love architecture so much.  Every project offers different constraints in their budget, scope, scale and style and it is through a rigorous investigation of these and the client’s intentions that you end up with a unique brief and build and what is hopefully a great new space.  Very exciting.

They are moving into their new home very soon, so you can expect to see some lovely pics on here shortly.


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