Signalman’s Quarters by 1+2 Architecture
First built by convicts in 1852 to post the signalman of Mulgrave Battery in Hobart’s iconic Battery Point, Signalman’s Quarters has received many additions and alterations over the years. Having last been altered in the 1980’s, the home’s form had begun to morph into an array of periods and styles. Taking the opportunity to breathe new life into the building rich with history, 1+2 Architecture were engaged to celebrate the existing colonial architecture while carefully crafting a new space for contemporary living.
Lacking views and a connection to the outdoors, 1+2 Architecture needed to work to bring light into the original part of the home. Having undergone various renovations over the years, the layout of the home’s interior needed to be reconfigured to make sense for modern day living. Establishing the original stone section of the home as the entry and sleeping quarters and the expansive, sleek addition to hold the kitchen and living areas, the new design speaks to the tradition of both timber and masonry work commonly found throughout Tasmania’s architectural history.
A home with heritage
As a heritage listed house, 1+2 Architecture worked closely with heritage consultants and Heritage Authorities to work out which elements needed to be preserved and what could be added. Wanting to evoke the spirit of timber sheds commonly found at the back of colonial homes, the use of Tasmanian Timber was introduced to the new addition at the back of house. Analysis of historic sketches and photographs of the site enabled 1+2 Architecture to inform and develop an appropriate design approach for the new work.
Tasmanian Oak was selected exclusively on the home’s interior. Wanting a material that would endure and transcend trends, Tasmanian Oak was used throughout all the custom joinery work and feature ceiling in the Living Room.
“There’s something transcendent about using solid timber in joinery. It’s reminiscent of the quality of solid timber furniture that you rarely see today but would have been common during the period this home was built. It creates a sense of permanence and longevity,” says 1+2 Architecture Director, Cath Hall.
The front veranda of Signalman’s Quarters, partially made from Huon Pine, was also restored.
Grandeur and simplicity
Playing with height and volume as you move through the house, upon entering the new rear addition, a pitched ceiling adds grandeur to the kitchen and living spaces. Applying Tasmanian Oak timber battens against black fabric and insulation on the lofted ceiling, it acts as an acoustic absorber in the light-filled space.
“We wanted to ensure the living area was quiet and comfortable while having a visual impact. The acoustic timber ceiling helped generate a sense of warmth and with the pitched ceiling kept free from lighting fixtures, the height and timber are the features of the space.”
Beautifully marrying the old with the new, Hall explains the importance of including Tasmanian Timber in Signalman’s Quarters.
“There are so many reasons for us to choose local materials like Tasmanian Oak. It lends ‘a sense of place’ to the architecture and a quality of belonging to the design. It doesn’t seem foreign to the space and for Signalman’s Quarters, it’s a Tasmanian material in a Tasmanian building.
“Using local materials helps reduce our carbon footprint which is absolutely essential. Importing construction materials and products is a massive contributor to greenhouses gas emissions: the materials, the energy to produce those materials, the emissions from manufacture and transport. The environmental impacts of construction are a significant concern.
“It makes abundant sense to specify local materials. When we buy local, we’re supporting local. It’s a win-win choice.”