Architects: BKK Architects
Location: Victoria, Australia
Design Team: Tim Black, Julian Kosloff, Simon Knott, Michael Roper, Rory Hyde
Area: 638.0 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Shannon McGrath
From the architect. For this project we were approached by a developer client to design a pair of 4-bedroom luxury townhouses. We were interested in addressing issues of containment and scale while providing the highest living amenity.
The developer, who we had previously designed a house for, consciously eschewed maximising development of the site in favour of higher quality, lower density housing. His company is only interested in pursuing the highest quality design outcomes. We started by exploring sculptural opportunities for the front façade that would act as a mediation between the streetscape and internal retreat.
Our ultimate design is a façade composed of a single concave timber screen punctured by a cluster of windows, the scale of the composition bearing no indication of the number of dwellings or levels concealed behind and therefore appearing without the usual scaling devices and hence a ‘scale-less-ness’. The inclination away from the street is also a gesture of deference to the existing streetscape whilst the cluster of windows provides a portal to the voyeurism of suburbia. When it came to the side façade windows, we rejected an external composition and designed them from ‘within’ to reflect the occupation and use of the rooms they characterise. Working with the developer, we also achieved a high level of environmental design for the project. As if to accommodate the concave indentation to the front facade, the black glazed-brick sides bulge with the sheer luxury of space contained within.
Environmentally, the house has the following initiatives:
•6-star energy rated;
•Water tanks for rainwater harvesting;
•Grey water recycling;
•High thermal mass;
•Low VOC materials;
•Water and energy efficient appliances;
•Inherent, low maintenance finishes;
•Solar hot water;
•Drought tolerant plantings.