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House in Williamstown

We created this house as a three-bedroom, double-storey house on a small block in a heritage area for a young family. The site's constraints were set by the typical white weatherboard cottages of the street, which were met by some instances of double-storey houses. On a bend in the street, the site runs directly north-south. This client wanted a house that worked well, where spaces were created that were all open but separate.

The evolution of the design resulted in exactly this, where the house is connected in plan and section. A central stair links the lower to upper floors and divides the floor plan to separate spaces downstairs. The dining area connects to the upstairs, where the corridor is more of an internal bridge, allowing the downstairs's visual, acoustic, and thermal connection to the upstairs.

The alignment of building elements was to be kept simple. As such, this allowed for a play on material between the top and bottom. We were somewhat required to use white weatherboard as a reference to the predominant materiality of the area. We used it but skewed the lower roof pitch and form in two directions so we weren't mimicking the surrounding heritage. The upper timber façade is read as a built element that continues to ground and cuts through the weatherboard object. The success of this is where the timber cladding of the upstairs extends downwards and inside in the double height space to the rear living.

Careful consideration was given to the light entering the house's rear and north facing living areas. The roof angle and form of the building are set to optimise for winter light gain and summer light exclusion to allow the house to function well and use less heating and cooling.

The project's success lies in the simplicity of the function of the house. The configuration and combination of spatial elements across the building plan and section allow for simple complexity and a house that works beautifully.

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