Projecting out towards the street this home for a young family cleverly negotiates a narrow 7.5m wide site without reverting to extensive boundary parapet walls and maintains rear external access down one side of the house. On entering the house the compact nature of the site disappears and instead the experience is one of surprise and delight at the sense of space and volume.
The design solution creates natural light filled spaces by articulating three main double storey volumes around a private central courtyard and the southern outdoor area/backyard. The arrangement of these volumes, their form and the careful placement of openings facilitates excellent northern solar penetration, cross-ventilation and the framing of views through the house without compromising the privacy of the inhabitants or neighbours.
The primarily steel framed construction and the composite concrete and steel frame floor system facilitated prefabrication of elements, reduced the need for wet trades, maximised usable internal space, simplified construction and reduced construction costs and time on site. Low maintenance materials have been selected in an understated colour palette that is considered appropriate to their beachside context. Environmental initiatives included appropriate orientation and placement of glazed openings to passive solar design principals and to facilitate cross ventilation, Comfort Plus glazing, adjustable solar louvres to large expanses of northern glazing, high specification insulation throughout, LED lighting, ceiling fans to minimise reliance on air-conditioning, deciduous trees and appropriate plant specification and low flow irrigation system and water wise plumbing fixtures and plumbing design to minimise heating of cold water dormant in pipes.
The design outcome has illustrated how an efficiently planned, architecturally designed home can achieve much more than the functional requirements of a house only despite the perceived constraints of a site. The project has been received well by visitors of different ages, despite its explicitly contemporary aesthetic, we feel, because of the clear articulation of the key considerations of the design in the built solution and the sense of surprise and delight this affords occupants.
Photographer: Martin Farquharson Photography