House in House

House in House

Architect
Steffen Welsch Architects
Location
Fitzroy North, Australia
Project Year
2014
Category
Private Houses
SHANNON McGRATH

House in House

Steffen Welsch Architects as Architects

House in House is an exploration of site boundary as limiter; as house not as an insertion in the landscape, but the boundary, the site’s physical constraints, as frame to both internal and external spaces, as form and void. We pushed this idea through the spatial planning of the site, creating an array of spaces arranged along a central spine.


House in House is a new build in a streetscape with significant heritage value. Our idea was that the home be an ‘uneasy fit’ within the street, creating a dialogue, an ongoing easy tension, with its predominantly federation style neighbours. This idea drove the building form and expression. We opted for a reinterpreted gable roofline and charcoal brick façade. House in House is noticed not on first, but second glance.


House in House contains five distinct internal pavilions or houses: 1. Working; 2. guest sleeping; 3. occupants sleeping; 4. kitchen/dining; and 5. lounge/library.


And three courtyards or voids:


1. retreat courtyard; 2. library courtyard; and 3. full width, entertaining courtyard.


Our clients desired a unique home offering clearly separate spaces for home office, or guest accommodation, or library. It needed to express the couple’s contrasting ideas and aesthetic preferences. Each of the pavilions or houses therefore has discrete functions, and each individual house is linked through the main axis, doubling as both circulation spine and gallery for the couple’s extensive art collection.


The courtyards punctuate the pavilions, drawing in natural light and ventilation. The largest courtyard frames the limits of the block and is for outdoor entertaining under a pergola. The smaller courtyards feature lush plantings, a retreat for one or two. A landscape architect was engaged to design these features.


This project is designed to passive solar principles. It has highly insulated walls and ceilings and high performance doors and windows. It is high in thermal mass. Air conditioning has been limited to the master bedroom; the home enjoys effective cross ventilation via the courtyards. Solar access to adjoining properties was considered during placement of the pavilions. The living-dining room is zoned off from the accommodation wing through a glazed and door partition.


[summary]


blurb House in House is an exploration of site boundary as limiter, as frame to both internal and external spaces, form and void. House in House is a new build in a streetscape with significant heritage value. Our idea was that the home be an ‘uneasy fit’ within the street, creating a dialogue, an ongoing easy tension, with its predominantly federation style neighbours. House in House contains five distinct internal pavilions or houses and three courtyards or voids. Each of the pavilions or houses has discrete functions, and each individual house is linked through a main axis, doubling as both circulation spine and gallery for the couple’s extensive art collection.


The courtyards punctuate the pavilions, drawing in natural light and ventilation. The largest courtyard frames the limits of the block and is for outdoor entertaining under a pergola. The smaller courtyards feature lush plantings, a retreat for one or two. This project is designed to passive solar principles.


sustainability We are proud that our buildings achieve high energy ratings and have been showcased as positive examples of sustainable projects. In our work we find a balance between cost efficient, environmentally sustainable designs and implementing innovative systems and products.


This project is designed to passive solar principles. It has highly insulated walls and ceilings and high performance doors and windows. It is high in thermal mass. Air conditioning has been limited to the master bedroom; the home enjoys effective cross ventilation via the courtyards. Solar access to adjoining properties was considered during placement of the pavilions. The living-dining room is zoned off from the accommodation wing through a glazed and door partition. Other initiatives included: • natural rubber flooring in kitchen • Durable, low-emission cabinetry: E1 for laminated mdf and E0 for all plywoods. • Low VOC emission paints • LED lighting installed • Water-saving low-flush toilets • Water-saving low-flow taps • Double glazed doors and windows installed • Doors and windows weather sealed • Internal blinds installed to assist with heat retention during winter and solar exclusion during summer.


House in House is an exploration of site boundary as limiter, as frame to both internal and external spaces, form and void. House in House is a new build in a streetscape with significant heritage value. Our idea was that the home be an ‘uneasy fit’ within the street, creating a dialogue, an ongoing easy tension, with its predominantly federation style neighbours. House in House contains five distinct internal pavilions or houses and three courtyards or voids. Each of the pavilions or houses has discrete functions, and each individual house is linked through a main axis, doubling as both circulation spine and gallery for the couple’s extensive art collection. The courtyards punctuate the pavilions, drawing in natural light and ventilation. The largest courtyard frames the limits of the block and is for outdoor entertaining under a pergola. The smaller courtyards feature lush plantings, a retreat for one or two. This project is designed to passive solar principles.

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