Berrima House is a realization of contemporary tropical living within a tight urban plot. Split in thirds down its length, the house is divided into two wings that flow seamlessly into a courtyard garden. Celebrated as the circulation spine of the house, it embraces nature's ambience as an integral part of everyday life. The void also dissolves the traditional enclosure of houses, breathing light and air through all the rooms. The conglomeration of internal and external living areas on the first level forms the communal space, while the second level is a private floor with one wing for the children and the other for the parents.
Capitalizing on its partial setting on elevated ground, circulation for the house was reversed. Communal spaces like the living and dining areas flank the rear, maximizing unobstructed views of greenery within and outside the site boundaries. The spatial planning strategy encourages social interaction and a high level of visual connectivity, while giving everyone private rooms.
Running perpendicular to the primary axis, planar walls separate the house into a succession of different spatial experiences, leading visitors through different rooms before arriving at the focal point at the end. Strip voids punctured through some of these walls offer a peek of the next space.
The play on visual permeability is both an environmental strategy and an establishment of privacy hierarchies. The front façade faces the hot western sun and is therefore more solid, while the back façade comprises glazed sliding doors that extend the external environment indoors when fully open. Awareness of the landscape is heightened by opening out to a spa pool and an infinity pool perched on a slope.
A similar language of distinct planes with contrasting visual porosity characterize the second level. The sliding glass façade of the children’s wing facilitates parental supervision across the courtyard garden through a horizontal strip void in the solid wall of the master wing. The generously proportioned master bedroom is sandwiched in the nave with maximum heat, and is complete with an attached study, walk in wardrobe and balcony looking toward the front of the house.
A restrained palette of modern materials wedded with passive design principles anchors the house in time, context and environmental sensitivity.