Black Box House
- a complex system or device whose internal workings are hidden or not readily understood.
A rather grand existing house was compromised by a shabby lean-to structure to the rear, causing both building fabric problems, as well as internally creating a rabbit warren. The front door was hidden from sight at the point of access to the property leading visitors along a path that cut through outdoor living space as it snaked around to the opposite side of the site where a door led to a dark narrow entrance.
While the house had clear formal entertaining spaces it provided nowhere for a family to exist in private. When the house was being used for entertaining the children had to disappear to bedrooms to escape, or find some private space. Relocating the entrance to the entry side of the house, and reconfiguring internally allowed for the creation of a retreat for family within a new black zinc box to the rear of the property. This is a private space, providing for the interactions of family separate from the public space of the house.
The elegance of the existing house is not compromised by mimicry. The black zinc box sits in the background beside the existing building fabric – quietly housing the informal interactions of family life and opening to the rear private garden.