Kempsey, a coastal town in mid-northern New South Wales, has a long history embedded in Australia\u2019s timber industry, founded on its thick wood of red cedar. And it was this town in which architect Daniel Hudson spent his childhood kicking pieces of lumber around in his family shed as his grandfather whittled down his own chunks of timber. As a boy raised in a family of tradesmen and builders, Daniel learnt to respect the unique character of this material, something that offers both a connection to the surrounding native landscape, as well as protection from it.\r\n\r\nThe influence of growing up in a town that thrives on its relationship with the natural world is honoured in Daniel\u2019s practice as an architect with Jackson Teece and director of their Queensland office. Living and working in Brisbane\u2019s sun-soaked CBD, his own home, Gresham St House, elegantly parades his understanding of site orientation and architectural know-how in a structure that evokes the protective woods of his younger years.\r\n\r\nDaniel and his wife purchased the property seven years ago. The house was a 1930s masonry \u2018Queenslander\u2019: muscular and elevated, in keeping with the canon of the northern state\u2019s signature architectural style. The house had a great original aspect with the backyard facing directly north to embrace Brisbane\u2019s syrupy weather. And so, when first walking through the property at the inspection, Daniel and his wife mentally configured their plans for the soon-to-be family home. The aim was to amplify a connection to the surrounding environment and expand the amount of liveable space with a timber-wrapped pavilion that honoured Daniel\u2019s upbringing in quiet, coastal Australia.\r\n\r\nYet despite the natural assets of the block, the layout of the house was a mess. \u201cInternally it was almost the opposite of what it should be,\u201d said Daniel. \u201cIt was around the wrong way. So the main objective was to reconfigure the layout, the program of the house, without changing any of the wall locations.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe old house was roasting in summer, biting in winter and longed for sunlight throughout most of the year. None of the old rooms responded to the context of the site and Daniel had to rearrange much of the floor plan. The lounge room became the master bedroom, the entryway a generous ensuite and wardrobe, the dining room a second family room and the old kitchen now the main family bathroom and toilet. \u201cIt was a complete reshuffle,\u201d he concedes.\r\n\r\nThe pre-existing building was reimagined as the sleeping quarters and the new living pavilion contrasted as an open, well-lit space, syphoning in the family\u2019s social activity. The bones of the original structure had to be maintained to keep the renovation within budget and to adhere to the low environmental footprint that was central to Daniel\u2019s design.\r\n\r\nThe original house lies within a demolition control precinct to protect the character of the original fa\u00e7ade. And so the extending new structure \u2013 swathed in rich timber and carrying a distinctly modern appeal \u2013 creates a striking juxtaposition between the more historical and contemporary architectural aesthetics.\r\n\r\nThe separation between old and new segments of Gresham St House establish two different destinations to suit one\u2019s mood: one to bathe in the sun and native landscape, and the other to hide away in a more secluded and private space. A concealed full-length sliding door pulls out from the wall to open up or cut between these spaces. This not only visually breaks up the house, but also allows for the family to have greater control over the internal temperature and ventilation. Daniel installed a three-station temperature thermometer in the kitchen, sleeping area and outside of the house, which allows the family to monitor the different temperatures and open up or close down the space accordingly.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe get the opportunity, in winter, to shut down the sleeping area from the rest of the house so it keeps warm. And in summer, we shut the space down equally so it keeps cool when you\u2019re sleeping at night,\u201d says Daniel.\r\n\r\nWorking to the house\u2019s orientation was paramount to promote the passive heating and cooling systems within the design, and ultimately create a house that responded to its climate. A gallery of louvres help to welcome in the bay breeze from the east while expelling the heat that is already inside. Over the central living space, large vertical timber blades run from the east and west fa\u00e7ades, and are carefully angled to respond to the shifting temperatures throughout the year.\r\n\r\n\u201cDuring summer there literally isn\u2019t any sun that comes [to heat] the deck or house. Whereas in winter you stand in the kitchen and the sun\u2019s on you,\u201d says Daniel. \u201cThey\u2019re the attributes that give me joy every day.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn addition to the rear pavilion, a new entry annex was built, clad in warm enveloping timber batten. The annex soothes the robust frontage while visually introducing the entwining of the old and new parts of the house that is continued into the rear. The annex is an ingenious feature in the design, and while the outer gate is closed, allows for the other doors to remain wide and encourage free-flowing ventilation across the length of the house. The annex also constructs a physical and psychological transition from the urban frenzy of the outside streetscape into the airy and restful pavilion.\r\n\r\n\u201cWalking through the house, the idea was to create a serene experience,\u201d says Daniel. Moving from \u201cthe timber batten and filtered light [at the entrance] to that more secluded \u2013 and I\u2019d like to say protected \u2013 living space; when you walk into that space, the acoustics are very quiet. The amount of timber contributes to that definitely.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe pavilion addition exists as both a living room and an extension of the outside deck, stirring the boundary between the internal and external parts of the house. And this is perfectly suited to the family\u2019s lifestyle.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy son plays a lot of sport, so for him to be able to stand in the backyard kicking a soccer ball while he\u2019s eating a piece of toast, it\u2019s a nice thing to be able to do.\u201d\r\n\r\nGresham St House visually plays out the narrative of years gone by. The house draws on components of Daniel\u2019s background and applies them within Brisbane\u2019s urban setting. Illustrated as a result is a harmony between divergent design styles, reinforcing how our past influences continue to evolve and inform the paths of our future.