Photographer: Jeremy Toth
“It’s a house of light and shadow, with layered spaces that are intensely private and happily public. It’s built from the most prosaic of materials…and yet achieves an elegant sort of poetry. When you visit a house like this, you can’t wait to go back. And that’s what makes Home of the Year” — Simon Farrell-Green, HOME Magazine
This project reverses the traditional suburban pattern of a house centered on its site surrounded by empty space; instead, the interior spaces are moved to the outside of the site and the external spaces are moved inside. By doing this the exterior courtyard spaces become internalised and thus an integral part of the open-plan layout of the house.
The interior and exterior spaces are conceived as part of a single open-plan composition in which the spaces for domestic activities (living, sleeping, washing, working) are loosely separated by walls or volumes: the extent of separation is determined by the degree of privacy required. Private bathrooms, for example, are completely enclosed but open to the sky, whereas the design studio is completely open to a courtyard and only partially separated from the living areas.
Structural and cladding materials are plain in appearance and detail and are similar to those visible in neighbouring buildings. Concrete and plaster are used on the floor and walls and provide a robust and simple appearance. Brick is used to form the wall which wraps around the perimeter of the site, providing an appearance of solidity and a sense of protection from the adjacent public lane and footpath. Corrugated metal roofing clads the top and sides of the roof forms, providing an economical appearance, whilst timber boards clad a number of walls and volumes (storage cupboards, cabinets, bathrooms), providing a soft, warm, and crafted appearance.
The house, though small in area, provides a visually spacious home through its appropriation of exterior spaces as interior space. Whilst located within a busy urban environment, it is a home that provides both privacy and openness for its occupants.