This new house is part of the 3 Houses Marrickville project which included the subdivision of a corner block into 3 Torrens title allotments, construction of a new house and conversion of an existing house into 2 semi detached houses, which received the 2015 Marrickville Medal.
The design needed to be carefully considered to continue the streetscape pattern and rhythm of the neighbouring houses. This was particularly important as the proposed lot shape and frontage was inconsistent with the adjoining allotments, so the approval of the subdivision was dependent on the resolution of the design to continue the streetscape pattern. A “U” shaped plan was developed around a central courtyard. This generally followed the footprint of the existing sheds on the site but more importantly created 2 narrow building frontages to the street, with the courtyard in the middle creating the negative space typically associated with the setbacks between dwellings. The alignment of the frontage matches the neighbouring buildings and the design incorporated a similar building language including; a relatively narrow front setback; an awning roof and front entry verandah and narrow garden planting. The heights of the building and the awning also match the heights of the neighbouring buildings.
Within these sensitive streetscape parameters, the building is un-apologetically contemporary. Clad entirely in vertical timber, the plan form and awning are joyfully sculptural and organic. The design addresses passive sustainable design principals with northern orientation of the living room opening out to the central courtyard, appropriate shading and natural cross ventilation. The return wing containing the ensuite to the master bedroom presents an additional miniature frontage to the street and acts as a giant privacy screen to prevent sight lines from the 2 storey buildings to the north. The whole of the house opens to the central courtyard and the kitchen opens to a small deck and vegetable garden along the rear setback. Internally windows are carefully placed to provide views and provide controlled indirect light which bounces off the internal walls of the high living room. Bedrooms are arranged with easterly aspect and incorporate a series of large sliding doors for flexible use as bedrooms or secondary sitting, dining or study spaces.
NSW AIA Jury Citation:
This house masterfully resolves a series of complex issues arising from its site as a subdivided block. Cleverly integrated into its context, the street frontage mimics scale and rhythm to continue the streetscape of neighbouring semi-detached houses. When viewed indirectly, the house presents two narrow forms to the street, carefully blending in with its neighbours.
To achieve this the house is arranged around a central courtyard that opens boldly to the street, offering an external space central to the understanding of architecture, whilst creating a sense of connection to the outdoors from every room in the house.
Inside, the kitchen and living spaces manifest as a series of intimate moments, opportunities to occupy the space that are inviting and instantly appealing. The elevated floor structure visually lifts the house, while a timber-clad skin creates a sculptural aesthetic that brings lightness and cohesion to the architecture. The design displays excellence in response to its urban context, its spatial arrangement and its environment to create an outstanding contribution to contemporary architecture.