Text description provided by the architects. Built within a rejuvenated heritage façade of rendered masonry, steel, timber, and greenery, the Welcome to the Jungle House is situated in an inner-city heritage conservation area typified by late Victorian row terrace housing and post-industrial warehouse conversions. A two-storey shop top house in disrepair and close to collapse originally occupied the 90sqm triangular site. The original spackled rendered masonry façade had cultural and streetscape significance to the local heritage conservation area and its necessary reconstruction was managed under strict heritage controls.
Original window openings have been framed in pre-rusted steel and juxtaposed with new openings framed in gloss white powder coat steel. A black photovoltaic panel array signals the new addition to the original northern façade, harnessing sunlight throughout the day, acting as a billboard for the sustainability attributes of the architecture, and starkly contrasting the original rendered heritage facade.
The fully operable glass inner skin of the home is inset from the outer punctuated masonry façade, providing an abundance of light and outlook whilst maintaining privacy from the public realm. This interstitial zone provides passive thermal regulation across the upper floors with planter beds ‘floating’ in between the glass and masonry skins to provide outlook to greenery and cooling to internal spaces via transpiration. The floating planter beds are also an integrated structurally engineered solution to the lateral bracing needs of the masonry wall.
The rooftop is constructed of steel planter beds that provide deep soil for native plants and fruit and vegetables. The garden beds are irrigated from the fishpond providing nutrient-rich water created by the edible silver perch (fish).
Materials. The journey from ground to roof begins with the raw textures of burnished concrete and fibre cement panels, ascending a steel and recycled timber stair to the bedroom and bathroom level finished in rich and warm timber boards lining the floors walls, and ceilings. The upper floor living space continues with timber flooring and a recycled timber island/dining bench to warm the space. The kitchen has been assembled from an array of machined and polished metals contrasting the concrete and timber finishes of the floors below. Unpolished stainless steel and brass and gold anodised aluminium glow and glean light revealing their factory finishes.
A colonnade of thin steel blade columns supports the roof above and has been deliberately staggered perpendicular from the building's edge to provide shade from the afternoon sun to keep the building cool in Summer without the need for mechanical shading devices. Above are the hot-dip galvanised planter beds which form the roof structure in its entirety. These structural roof ‘troughs’ are the roof beams spanning up to 8.5M while holding deep soil for the planter beds, exposed at their bases to create the industrially raw ceiling finish below, a detail complimented by the factory finishes of the kitchens stainless steel and brass.