LocationSandringham, Victoria, Australia
Director/ DesignerMatthew Smith
Developer/ ContractorGood Constructions
PhotographsDerek Swalwell & Peter Clarke, Courtesy of Crone Partners
From the architect. Embracing the challenge of a relatively tight inner suburban location, and restrictive building envelope, the designers worked closely with the client to rationalise their “wish list” into a concise and deliverable brief. The outcome is a dramatic architectural statement, which has already demonstrated the flexibility to adapt to the constantly changing lives of the family it was designed for.
Both the practical and aspirational desires of the client have been delivered in a considered and cleverly articulated package; this realisation is the outcome of a dedicated and rewarding collaboration between architect and the client / builder. This functional and beautiful dwelling goes beyond the prosaic and operates on every level as a flexible family home which centres on the notion of blurring the line between interior and exterior.
Proportionally comfortable in its street context, the Good House is immediately identifiable as something quite different from those surrounding it. The building’s finely detailed, bold rectilinear form is set back from the street amidst a carpet of natural ground cover. Entrance down the side of the house is made via a subtle path formed from old railway sleepers embedded into the ground.
The project is realised through a series of simple intersecting and overlapping rectangular forms. Each “box” represents a distinct portion of the overall program. The forms of the building have been carefully articulated as both screening devices for privacy, and elements that frame and define views. The robust external cladding that changes appearance significantly in different weather and lighting conditions, gives way to a sophisticated, warm and welcoming interior, filled with natural light, tall ceilings, double height voids and sensuous materials. Extensive use and clever placement of high performance double glazing draws light into every room. The definition of interior and exterior is distorted, with banks of operable louvres and huge sliding glass panels presenting the family with the ability to engage directly with the outside environment, or to close the place down completely, dependant on the variable Melbourne climate.
Fresh, clean and bright, every room feels luxurious without being fussy. The sleek kitchen features white, handle-free storage complemented by stainless steel and white enamel appliances. “A timber storage unit clad in “curly birch” defines a spine through the ground floor, adding warmth to the space and creating contrast in a room otherwise decorated in tones of grey and white”
Whilst not overtly “green” in appearance the house design is based on sound ESD principles. Ultimately the design is about handing control to the occupant through a solution that is highly interactive. The passive design solutions, and the options they provide, have resulted in a house that relies little on the active cooling and heating systems that have been installed. The designers deliberately pushed their exploration of the project form and aesthetic, whilst maintaining the highest level of sustainability.
The house presents as a blank canvas, onto which the family inserts the detail of their ever changing lives. It provides flexibility for growth and change, with spaces that can be opened up and connected, or closed down for more restricted and intimate use. The primary living zone has been created to serve the clients specific needs for an interactive informal space that caters for the variance of their day to day lives. It flows effortlessly from one functional area to another and can be opened up to embrace the adjoining outdoor spaces, in particular the northerly orientated back yard and lap pool.