Jagera / Turrbal
This ‘upside-down’ house in a Character Precinct creates a gently unfolding entry sequence from the street to the north-facing living spaces at the lower, rear of the site.
Our clients wanted to create a long-term home for their family that could adapt to the different stages of their growing children’s lives. The compact, steeply-sloping site is within a dense Character Precinct in Brisbane’s inner suburban ring, with close neighbours on either side. Our clients envisaged a series of living areas on ground at the rear of the site, opening to the northern aspect and a protected landscape. The design challenge was thus to create a somewhat ‘upside-down’ house, with entry on a top, ‘private’ level containing the sleeping areas adjacent to the street, with living areas positioned at the rear of the site on the level below. To address this, the design creates a meaningful entry sequence from the street to the rear. The primary entry is via an external, landscaped and screened masonry stair running down the slope at the side of the house. This space transitions from the scale of the streetscape to the intimacy of the living areas, slowly revealing the house in glimpses of the living areas and the landscape beyond. A second, private entry provides access for the family from the carport to the secure space at the first level. The living areas are then accessed by an internal stairwell, which is linked via a void space to the public entry. This entry void runs the width of the plan, creating a lightwell which brings north and east light deep into the house. The house is designed to evolve as the family grows and changes, allowing for children to be located close to parents when small, moving to more separated rooms affording greater privacy when older. Room designs are conceived with this multi-function purpose in mind. Respecting the character context, the pattern of the existing Queenslander cottage is maintained in the street frontage. This diminutive street presence belies a relatively large programme behind, nestled into this small inner-city site. Despite its compactness, a high degree of openness, natural light and ventilation is achieved. Apertures are customised to afford views out, while maintaining privacy to all neighbours.