Builder: Michael Dent Homes
Joiner: Urban joinery, Chris Rowney joinery
Engineer: Izzat Consulting Engineers
From the architect. Islington is a gritty inner-city suburb of Newcastle, traditionally working class, which is experiencing demographic change as young families move into the area. The site is located 30m from a fortified motorcycle gang clubhouse, and has a site area of only 283m².
The design response to the site was to maximise the width of the built form fronting the street and to build to the south-west boundary in order to create two private and protected northeast facing garden areas behind the building line for the dwelling to open onto. A tough exterior skin of face brick and zincalume corrugated cladding shields the interior spaces. Internally, high ceilings, large areas of north-east glass looking out into the garden areas and high level louvres for ventilation allow the small dwelling footprint to be light-filled and to have a generous sense of space.
The transition from the street into the dwelling is carefully controlled via a small low-walled front garden and roofed external entry area. A high masonry ‘graffiti’ boundary wall screens views of the front door from the footpath and will be painted with a mural by one of the clients’ friends.
Polished concrete floors provide an ideal surface for indoor skateboarding, and act as thermal mass. Plywood features in the kitchen as well as the living room ceiling to add warmth and texture. The entire kitchen splashback features a panel created by the clients, comprising images of their favourite musicians. A windowless storeroom at the back of the garage provides an ideal band practice room and display area for skateboard decks. All roofwater is collected and stored in two water tanks which screen the main garden from the south-eastern neighbour, to be reused on site.