House Design

Lighting up a dark house

The multi-storey office building in Brisbane, 25 King, is built from engineered timber. Photo: Supplied
Written by The ReReport
As seen in the Source link, written by on 2019-01-25 14:23:35

Good design lives or dies on how well natural light penetrates the house. A south-facing building like this one is not exactly ideal, so this Lewisham family was in the cold and dark for part of the year.When architect Simon Anderson took on the job of transforming the inner-city federation property, first priority was to let the sun in, and in doing so double its thermal efficiency from 3.2 to 6.4 stars.media_cameraFrom cold and dark to warm and welcoming. All photos: Nick Bowers“The very first thing we did was to try and understand what the house will need in the future and amount of power it will need to warm and cool the house,” he says.To draw in light, Simon proposed the demolition of an old addition and a careful redesign of the new.“We knew we wanted to maximise budget and impact for the client, so we reduced the number of additional bedrooms (keeping four of the five),” he says. “To balance this, we dedicated a modest first-floor addition to a more expansive parents’ bedroom with ensuite.”media_cameraA first floor extension houses the master with ensuiteThe first design of the first floor also had a yoga/multipurpose room, but after the quantity surveyor came back on costs, the yoga room was deleted.The trick to brightening up the south-facing home was to introduce an internal courtyard to allow sun to penetrate the adjoining rooms. Simon says strategically placed concrete walls and hydronically heated flooring brought greater heat gain to cold zones, and new awnings let in the winter sun.“We specified heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels, and double-glazed windows, to help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures,” he says.media_cameraNatural elements such as exposed brick and timber create textural warmthThe kitchen, dining and living are now warm in every sense, with reclaimed spotted gum flooring from the old addition repurposed in cupboard faces and in a timber-lined ceiling above the kitchen. Bricks from the old kitchen were also repurposed to provide a thermal mass wall in the backyard.Simon says the wall doubles as a screen for a 1400L tank that supplies rainwater for the newly landscaped garden.“The horticulturalist captured the clients’ love of Australian native plants here in a design that promotes birdlife and other local fauna,” he says.The theme continues into the internal courtyard where the blackened trunks of a xanthorrhoea grass trees sit against a backdrop of blackened timber cladding.media_cameraThe living area flows out into a garden full of native plantsThe owners were instrumental in setting the tone for the renovation, asking Simon and his team to visit Pablo and Rusty’s cafe in the CBD to get a feel for what they wanted to achieve in their home.“They liked the character of the cafe, such as the warm timber feel and the aged brass handrails on the stairs,” Simon says. “It was homely and warm, it wasn’t stark, and it put us on the same page.”Simon and his team were able to draw inspiration from the cafe, which is mostly referenced in the renovated kitchen and new staircase. The kitchen island bench is five metres long in a blue stone hue, surrounded by timber and brick elements.media_cameraThe cantilevered staircase allows sunlight to spill through the rest of the houseThe minimalist open staircase sits between the kitchen and the new courtyard, letting through as much light as possible.“It’s a floating steel structure so it was a bit of an experiment,” Simon says. “The builder was worried that it would wobble and he was a bit apprehensive, but it is connected to the window frame for extra support. It was one of those moments where the builder was willing to go along with us and we’d modify if we had to.”Fortunately, all went to plan in an example of architect and builder working cohesively for the client.“Our gorgeous, cantilevered stair detail adds a sculptural element alongside the courtyard, but it also lets in beautiful morning sun,” Simon says.media_cameraArchitect Simon Anderson from Anderson Architecture turned the dark home into a suntrap Builder Maison Builders, Landscape architect Mallee Design, Landscaper Earth Stone Wood, Hardwood timber windows Acacia Joinery, Upper floor cladding Shadowclad, In-floor hydronic heating Brinlex,