Castle Hill Surgery

A family medical practice had occupied the existing fibro cottage on this site for over a decade - one of the last such buildings remaining in a suburb that has been transformed by low-grade commercial development - but required a refurbishment to accommodate an increased practice size and contemporary technology and servicing requirements. The strategic possibilities of the project were severely limited by the existing cottage and site, local authority parking requirements and budget.

Subsequently, a design strategy was based in the decision to retain as much as possible of the existing fabric and to augment this with the addition a small-scale extension.

The project was designed in collaboration with Richard Goodwin (architect/artist) who for some time has been exploring the notion of the "parasite" in urban contexts through a series of works that blur the boundaries between sculpture, architecture and infrastructure. When melded with our own interests in the relationship between pre-existing "archaeological" and (con)temporary additions, Goodwin's focus suggested possibilities for addressing the wider issue of "the extension" - a building type often considered as tedious and inferior in architectural practice.

Thus, a parasite was developed which looked to the existing cottage for both its formal and material cues, developing in turn a new language that was re-applied to the existing building in its refurbishment. In urban design terms, the new element was understood as a fragment that relates neither in scale or form to the larger scale commercial buildings adjacent. The result is a hybrid composition consisting of 2 elements, neither of which is completely "new" or "old" but lie somewhere between the two.

 

Photography by Brett Boardman

Image of Richard Goodwin's 'Exoskeleton 2' courtesy of the artist.