New Farm, Brisbane
Jagera / Turrbal
This house is a model for affordable and neighbour-friendly urban infill, offering a high level of amenity to its inhabitants.
Our clients had purchased a small, unusually-proportioned site, accessed via a 3m-wide laneway. The site has a 30m long boundary to this laneway, which forms the street address, is just 8m deep, and is bounded by 8 neighbouring dwellings. We were asked to unlock the potential of this small site with a modest house filled with natural light and access to landscape. Views to and from the 8 neighbouring sites were to be negotiated to create a sense of privacy. To keep within a modest budget, the construction approach was developed with a project home builder from early stages. This collaboration allowed adaptation of a variety of project home methodologies to create an economical and unique outcome. The design creates a long, shallow house with a solid, protective face along the south-westerly laneway, and a porous, habitable face on the opposite side to the north-east. This face opens to two north-facing courtyards which distribute breeze and sunlight into the essentially one-room-deep plan. The south-west, lane-way address is envisaged as a solid armature, protecting the dwelling behind, punctuated only by a long kitchen window and the front door. In contrast, the north-eastern long facade is faceted to create courtyards that feed the main living spaces and downstairs bedrooms. The internal rooms are arranged to provide privacy to and from the neighbours and overcome overlooking. At its shallowest, the house is 3m deep, affording great access to the landscape courtyards and high levels of light and ventilation. To enhance the level of liveable space on such a constrained site, the courtyard is considered as an integral element of the living space. The adjacency and openness to the courtyards allows a downscaling of all rooms, making possible a small, 150m2 floor plate (inclusive of garage). The scheme was awarded commendations at both the Brisbane Regional and Queensland State AIA awards. The success of the project proves that sensitive urban infill to increase the density of our suburbs is possible and affordable, even on the most constrained of sites.