A friendship going back many years forged on the wet and muddy side-lines of children’s winter sports was the starting point for the Gower / Imagine design relationship. Having lived in a new, out of the catalogue home previously the Gower’s realised a more bespoke approach was required if they were to get their desired outcome for this narrow site. A brief that asked for 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas, double + garaging, access to views and sun from the upper level all wrapped in a modern and unique envelope. Two of the living spaces would be on the upper level, each with its own deck. The third living space served as a children’s breakout space, away from the grown-ups.
With civil engineering experience in the client’s skill set along with access to heavy machinery, importing fill and creating an engineered platform for the house was a cost-effective strategy which also ensure a constant elevation was achieved to maintain the views. In creating the platform, it was still important that the connection between the house and the rear of the site and establish trees was carefully considered so a strategy of linking the lower lounge via a rear deck and the connecting landscaping would be key to achieving this.
Design Features and Creative Solution:
The approach to the design of this house was to strike a balance between a modern aesthetic and a modest budget. The key driver’s for keeping a close eye on costs were the level building platform and a simple rectangular plan. The aesthetic narrative was built around the confidant, extruded form of the upper level roof, rear wall and floor creating a bold street façade. The exterior material palette is kept simple with the “inner box” form being cedar clad whilst the protrusions being formed with pure, white, plastered elements. Pergola frames at each cast playful shadows. Quality landscaping, particularly at the street front were key in completing the look.
The narrative of the extruded forms supports the sustainability and passive solar design initiatives. The overhang dimensions have been calculated to provide shade from the high angle summer sun yet permit penetration of winter sun deep into the living spaces at either end of the house through the high-level glazing. Placement of rooms provide a balance of optimal access to sun, light, and views. Thermal performance is well above code with friction fit insulation and high-performance aluminium window joinery.
For the interior, the owner’s embraced the designer’s enthusiasm for the work of American architect Richard Meier and pursued a clean, white finish where the natural light during day and the artificial light at night are the decoration and the drama. The entry chandelier continues the theme of playing with light.