Semi-detached House / Chenchow Little

© John Gollings

Architects: Chenchow Little
Location: Sydney,
Project Team: Tony Chenchow, Stephanie Little, Janice Chenchow, Jenni Dang
Structural Engineer: Robert Koch – Sinclair Knight Merz
Builder: Tecorp Constructions Pty Ltd
Lanscape Consultant: Botannix
Project Area: 500 sqm
Project Year: 2005-2006
Photographs: John Gollings & Bart Maiorana

The Semi-detached House project involved substantial alterations and additions to an ‘Arts and Crafts’ semi-detached house.

Due to the location of the dwelling adjacent to the beach and Sydney’s temperate climate, the starting point for the project was an exploration of ‘interstitial’/ in-between/ veranda space.

floor plans 01
floor plans 02

Through this process we aimed to depart from the predictable semi-detached house typology characterized by; ‘shotgun’ planning, introverted rooms, small side windows and flat ceilings.

The design involved the addition of a new framed superstructure, housing the ‘interstitial’ spaces and the living rooms, above the existing sandstone basement and roughcast rendered bedroom level. The interstitial spaces extend the living areas and incorporate verandas, courtyards, stairways and a circulation path linking the street level to the garden below.

© John Gollings

A skin of adjustable louvres provides privacy and solar control to the interstitial space. The louvres are applied continuously across the façade. The flanges of the horizontal steel members are reduced to the same visual order as the louvre blades. The viewer experiences the façade as a textural surface without any focal points. Here, we are not interested in breaking down the scale by including discernable features such as window openings or awnings arranged through a formalistic logic of collage or montage. By applying the louvre suite en masse across the whole façade, and carefully detailing its connections, we were able to ‘unload’ the traditional utilitarian interpretation of the device and the material.

© John Gollings

The traditional modernist ideal emphasises the separation between ornamentation and function. The separation is not so clear here. The aesthetic role of the louvre is as important as its technical and functional role.

Cite: "Semi-detached House / Chenchow Little" 16 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • xirclebox

    Semi-detached House / Chenchow Little /cc @feedly

  • shetu

    Its a great project.

  • AV

    One question for the architect: By using so much exposed steel, how do you deal with any movement due to expansion / contraction?

  • eman

    A successful use for the special site as most of the walls are made of glass which gives the users a chance to enjoy different view along the day. Even the corridor is transparent and gives the feeling that you are walking outside. The ability to control the natural light using the curtains is very effective.