An addition to an old weatherboard house set within a large garden, the idea was to create a separate sleeping pavilion linked to the existing cottage via extending the old verandah. This created a separation of sleeping and living areas and linked all spaces with the verdant garden. Between the two wings, you take in views to the lush gardens.
The brief was for the creation of an Asian type compound, a series of structures within a walled garden providing seclusion and refuge within a suburban setting, and flexibility for future use.
The site strategy allows the historic weatherboard house to be kept within its entirety, creating a sequence of garden courtyards linking the old and new buildings.
A narrative of movement is created from public to private zones modulated by the verandah, the repetition of structure and framed garden views.
Functions of living and sleeping areas, of day and night, are separated by the verandah, with quieter sleeping spaces carved within the new brick pavilion. Moving from sleeping to living areas allows open interaction with weather and light variations.
Materials are contrasted to highlight separation of form between old and new structures.
The pavilion transitions from one storey to three storey as the site falls to the garden, the scale of this is controlled by the roof form falling steeply to the street.
Q. What was the brief?
A. The brief was to create a private oasis for a young family with flexibility in the floor plan to allow changes in use over time.
The idea of an Asian compound was developed to allow for separate areas for intergenerational living set within an expansive garden, with open verandahs connecting spaces and facilitating outdoor living.
Q. What were the key challenges?
A. To create a private oasis in the midst of suburbia.
The site is overlooked by several buildings, this was overcome with the strategic massing to create private courtyards, control views and the use of landscape to enclose the site.
To retain the historic weatherboard house on site and integrate this with a new pavilion.
A key challenge was getting the building approved by council who had issues with the unusual form and open connection between the two buildings. The DA was rejected and successfully appealed.
A further challenge was to retain the sense of an expansive lush garden and build the necessary accommodation. This was achieved by having a narrow floor plate minimising the footprint on the site and ensuring connection with the garden on all levels. A series of garden courtyards are used to link spaces.
Q. What are the sustainability features?
A. The house relies on passive ventilation using ceiling fans, and full height louvre windows. Stack effect ventilation is utilized in the central stair, drawing up cool area from the garden through the house.
Windows are designed for venting the house during periods of absence, adjustable screens on the upper level reduce heat gain whilst insulated curtains can also be drawn. A subfloor basement offers respite in extreme heat.
High performance glass was installed and brickwork is cavity insulated providing thermal and acoustic insulation. Brickwork is painted in low VOC paints, reducing internal linings.
The occupants are in constant contact with the garden realm, encouraging a sense of wellbeing.
Nina Still B Arch Sc, B Arch Hons class 1 USyd.
Still Space Architecture
Still Space Architecture is a design focused practice, integrating landform, structure and landscape, using colour and craft to achieve tranquil environments.