Doll's House / BKK Architects

Doll's House / BKK Architects

© Shannon McGrath © Shannon McGrath © Shannon McGrath © Shannon McGrath + 20

Houses  · 
Northcote, Australia
  • architects Authors of this architecture project BKK Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project
    205.0 sqm
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
  • architects

  • location

    Northcote VIC, Australia
  • area

    205.0 sqm
  • photographs

  • Project Team

    Simon Knott, Adi Atic, Madeleine Beech
  • Builder

    Creo Libera; Jeremy Dickson, Julian Woodhouse
  • Structural Engineer

    Perrett Simpson Stanton
  • Building Surveyor

    Group II
  • Electrical

    C&B Electrical
  • Plumbing

    Green Light Plumbing
  • Painter

    JT Colourtone
  • Joinery

    The Cabinet and Furniture Shop
  • Landscape Design

    Tai Snaith
  • Landscape Contracting

    Architectural Plants
More Specs Less Specs
© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

Text description provided by the architects. Dolls House is an idea about providing flexible, highly sustainable living that is responsive to its context and able to adapt to the changing needs of a family over a long life-span. The first known Doll’s house, originally called a ‘baby house’ in 1557 was a showcase for local creatives and craftspeople to display their wares.

© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

The Dolls House later became a play thing for children; a space of imagination. Shared ideas of creativity, craftsmanship, play and imagination underpin this house, whilst also mirroring the flexibility of the Doll’s house where a bedroom can become a living room or dining room by simply moving furniture or joinery.

Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan

The new addition is largely made up of two spaces stacked upon each other, with no doors or walls, just furniture and joinery to divide space and imply use. The two levels of the house are treated quite distinctly; the lower sunk below grade and heavily grounded, whilst the upper is soaring into the treetops. The new addition frees up the plan of the old house where the former living and dining areas have become a flexible buffer space with an artist studio and playroom that place creativity and play at the centre of the home.

© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

There is a nostalgic reference to the child’s simple drawing of a house in its most basic form, with smoke billowing out of the chimney, a place of happiness and content. The façade is based on the opening credits of the children’s program Playschool where every window is different and provides a portal into some other world. The interior space of the house can be fully opened and extended to the landscape beyond. Materials have been carefully chosen for their ability to demonstrate a level of craft; from oversized exposed timber beams to hand-painted tiles by the owner. 

© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

Sustainably the house is rethought from first principles; transforming a drafty, uninsulated timber bungalow into a well-performing house of the future. The house is reorientated to the north and employs: perfect solar access, an R7 insulated fabric, highly sealed envelope, thermal mass, low VOC materials and excellent cross ventilation.

© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

The lighting is custom designed and manufactured low-energy LED that is fully integrated into the built fabric.  The striped façade is borrowed from zebras, the only equine animal to live in the savannahs. When captured by thermal imaging, the zebra stripes show large temperature differential across the different colours, creating small currents of airflow across their bodies.

© Shannon McGrath
© Shannon McGrath

The landscaping is practical and largely drought tolerant, with the use of grey water re-cycling to water the fruit trees and an underground rain water tank to water the vegetables. There is a combination of wildflowers, Succulents and natives interspersed with edible plants and vegetables like tomatoes, pumpkins and beans. The two circular concrete planters out the front are re-purposed water tanks without the top and bottom.

Diagram 1
Diagram 1

Project gallery

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About this office
Cite: "Doll's House / BKK Architects" 06 Jul 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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