Through Couldrey House he was keen to respond to the character of the suburb and its rocky substrate, as well as put into practice some climate control principles learned working in the Middle East, along with a few aesthetic touches from there as well. The west-facing street entry elevation (as well as the south elevation) is built from off-white bricks with the slightly extruded mortar creating a ribbed or ‘corduroy’ effect. This, with the stone steps and absence of windows, makes the house look a lot like a ziggurat. Backed by insulation, though, this masonry façade’s primary function is to protect the house from the sun. The east and north elevations are a lot more like you might expect to see in Brisbane with the two levels opening up to the view leading one of Peter’s friends to suggest that the building has a “Janus-headed” profile – two completely different faces – one side lightweight, the other heavy.
The west-facing street entry elevation is built from off-white bricks with the slightly extruded mortar creating a ribbed or ‘corduroy’ effect.
Couldrey House is also heavy because of its use of concrete. It uses thirty 9-metre-long pre-cast concrete floor and roof units as part of its radiant cooling strategy. Peter points out that it was in the Middle East that he learned about “another tradition of cooling which is to do with thermal mass and radiant cooling”. It is something we have all experienced going into stone cathedrals that, even on the hottest days, remain cool inside because the stone has stored the cool from the night before. It is different from evaporative cooling or cross-ventilation because it exploits the principle of heat transfer, in this case making use, not just of stored cool night air, but also the cool of the rock substrate. Apart from the open elevations on the east and north, the closed south elevation does have a series of louvres or slots in the wall. Hidden behind them are glass louvres. This provides internal cross-ventilation while also lending privacy to the house and its neighbours. But Peter was also keen to build “an Australian house which could just sit there for hundreds of years”: hence the use of concrete and masonry rather than the traditional lightweight materials which quickly deteriorate. Couldrey House challenges convention in a number of other ways. For example, it inverts the usual organisation of spaces with the public areas – really just one continuous space – on the upper level and bedrooms downstairs. The upper level is accessed by a grand stairway that continues the ceremonial entry steps. “There is a great feeling when you come in and go up those stairs into a double height space,” says Peter. Downstairs the slab follows the topography of the hill so that every bedroom has its own floorplate with the linking corridor stepping down for each bedroom. One thing lost in reversing the standard lay-out is the immediate access to the landscape from the ground floor. Peter is compensating for this by using 25 metre-long planter boxes which will eventually grow up “like a jungle” and take over that whole elevation. Peter Besley peterbesley.com Photography by Rory Gardiner We think you might also like Midway Point House by Cumulus Studio abc
Peter Besley was keen to respond to the character of the suburb and its rocky substrate, as well as put into practice some climate control principles learned working in the Middle East.
Internally, the skylight permeates the open-plan kitchen, living, and dining spaces that comprise the ground floor of the row house with an abundance of natural light. The interior materiality envelopes inhabitants in a warmth of timber paneling and ochre-coloured walls offset by greenery. “I tried to make a house where the family can deepen family ties, and where the family can be integrated with the external environment by the large roof,” says architect Yoshitaka Kuga of Hearth Architects. This sentiment seems to reverberate throughout the ground floor public spaces of Hikone House, as if carried by the light streaming in from overhead. Moving through the interior volumes, the divine sense of tranquility resounds further still. In line with the ideologies of geomancy, the north east corner of the abode is something of a sacred space. Here, a traditional tatami room provides residents with a tranquil respite from the rest of the house; a dedicated space for peace, quiet, and meditation.
The skylight permeates the open-plan kitchen, living, and dining spaces that comprise the ground floor of the row house.
A traditional tatami room provides residents with a dedicated space for peace, quiet, and meditation.A private, Japanese-style Zen garden, accessible from the tatami room through a set of floor-to-ceiling timber bifold doors, amplifies the mindfulness of Hearth Architects’ design for the row house. Meanwhile, the family’s private quarters comprise the upper floor. Beyond the Zen garden, a second residential street skirts the outer length of the concrete northern boundary, above which, the façade of a double height elevation. If it weren’t for their distinctive materiality – a contemporary contrast to that of the neighbours on either side – you would be forgiven for mistaking Hikone House’s two façades to be two different houses entirely. “These two appearances are symbolic but fit into the surroundings well,” says Yoshitaka. It is true – each face of Hikone House harmoniously integrates with its respective surrounding streetscape, acting as a subtle testament to Hearth Architects’ design versatility. Above and beyond appearances, the juxtaposing façades do more than fit in with their surrounds – by design, they respond to them. In sync, they work to supply Hikone House with just the right amount of privacy, sun protection, natural light, and fresh air, in just the right places. Hearth Architects hearth-a.com Photography by Yuta Yamada We think you might also like Midway Point House by Cumulus Studio abc
Rain Tree House by ONG&ONG
SingaporeThe magnificence of the rain tree could not be ignored, and it would be a shame to do so, so the architects have embraced the historic feature. “Its presence is ingrained within the very architecture of the house itself,” says Maria Arango, Director at ONG&ONG. Read the full article here
Chempenai House by WHBC Architects
Kuala LumpurSituated on a slope in the affluent suburb of Damansara Heights, the Chempenai House is something of a diamond in the rough of a neighbourhood dominated by nouveau riche mansions and luxury condominiums. In contrast to the architecture of its more flamboyant counterparts, its stripped down concrete surfaces don’t vie for attention, and if its steep, off-the-beaten-track location is any indication, it doesn’t want to be found either. Read the full article here
Cornwall Gardens by Chang Architects
SingaporeThis stunning example of modern zen home design is shrouded in greenery and features a swimming pool, waterfall, Koi carp pond and a terraced roof garden. As with most of Chang Architects’ projects, it embraces biophilic design to enhance the wellbeing of its inhabitants by reconnecting them to nature. Read the full article here
Patom Organic Living by Nitaprow
ThailandNot technically a home, but nonetheless a worthy example of zen design perhaps where we need it most - in the retail sphere! Located in a prime Bangkok neighbourhood, this small wood-framed glass building sits on a raised mound covered by wild grass and ferns, its glass transparency softened by the lush surroundings. Read the full article here
Type Street Apartment By Tsai Design
AustraliaTo overcome the constraints of updating a 35 square metre apartment and transforming it into a comfortable one-bedroom apartment with a home office, Tsai Design concentrated on creating multi-functional spaces, de-cluttering, and maximising natural light. Read the full article here
Atrium House by RT+Q Architects
SingaporeWith the courtyard and its two-storey high green wall, the configuration of the communal spaces around the inviting atrium became a logical choice is this example of modern zen home design in Sinagpore. Read the full story here
Cloister House by Formwerkz Architecture
SingaporeWith a client who self-describes as a "feng-shui master", Cloister House employed the strategy of keeping the residence entirely to a single story which realised multiple benefits: it adheres to geomancy principles, keeps the building cost low, is elderly friendly, and sets it apart from the multi-storey houses in the neighbourhood. Read the full article here
Matilda House by Templeton Architecture
AustraliaMatilda House is a residential project by Melbourne-based architecture firm Templeton Architecture. The name refers to both the Australian bushland setting among the granite hills of northeast Victoria, but also – if one looks beyond this to its etymological roots, Matilda, meaning ‘container for personal belongings’ – also refers to the deep personal resonance of the project. Read the full article here Clifftop House by Nik Karalis Australia Clifftop House itself comprises three interconnecting forms. The lowest level is constructed in off-formed concrete, with concrete walls extending to the interior. Directly above is a glazed pavilion, with large sliding glass doors leading to a terrace and swimming pool. The third element, the Blackbutt-clad form containing the stairs and circulation, links the other two. Read the full article here
Rammed Earth Retreat by Thais Pupio Design
AustraliaAn ordinary house built in the 1980s already occupied this property and the idea was to dramatically re-work it. The new two-bedroom residence needed to be low maintenance and conducive to entertaining large groups of friends and family. More importantly, it needed to retain the original footprint and not encroach on the clients’ lush garden; their pride and joy. Read the full article hereabc
The house is broadly built on the existing footprint to minimise site disturbance and maintain existing trees, while the long and narrow form optimises passive solar design. Stretching from east to west, the house has windows along the north and south to capture daylight and cross breezes. This creates an efficient, comfortable interior year-round, being warmer in winter and cooler in summer. “Add 60 solar panels and hydronic heating, and the home is not just comfortable, but low energy. Matt and Leanne estimate their yearly power bill at around $300,” says Paul. Being set in an area of moderate bushfire risk, the BAL-29 requirements influenced the design and material palette. The home is built on a solid podium of concrete and Timbercrete – a lightweight, sustainable building block fabricated with waste timber content – and clad in locally sourced Ironbark, which is naturally fire resistant and helps the home blend into its bush setting. The materials continue inside with polished concrete floors and blockwork providing thermal mass, and local hardwood adding warmth, colour and texture.
Olinda House is broadly built on the existing footprint to minimise site disturbance and maintain existing trees.
The split-level design follows the natural slope of the land; the roof slopes in the opposite direction to create dramatically higher ceilings in the living area. Windows frame views of the landscape when inside, and the narrow footprint enables a view of the bush through the house when outside. The windows also reflect the greenery, creating a sense of semi-transparency and allowing the house to nestle into the site. “The landscape brings the house to life and brings the occupants closer to nature,” says Paul. “It is surrounded by views of greenery, harnesses the warmth of the sun, captures summer breezes and the fragrance of the wildflowers outside. It demonstrates that architecture and nature can happily coexist and have a mutually beneficial relationship.” BENT Architecture bentarchitecture.com.au Photography by Tatjana Plitt Dissection Information Pacific Energy, Pivot Stone and Heating ‘Neo 2.5’ freestanding, single front view, wood burning fireplace Darkon Blouse wall light Porcelume Conga pendant & Bass Drum pendant Opaque Hand Crafted Mini dreamer pendant Neff induction cooktop and wall oven ACS bathrooms Moda ‘Aletta’ countertop basin and Chloe Freestanding Bath We think you might also like these houses designed for off grid living abc
“60 solar panels and hydronic heating, and the home is not just comfortable, but low energy. Matt and Leanne estimate their yearly power bill at around $300.”
From the street, With.It House flaunts its grandiose scale and open, free-flowing spirit with pride and poise to passersby; distinguished by a translucent white steel façade that seems to float one up from the ground. Not merely a design statement, from a practical perspective this show-stopping façade serves as a privacy screen for the expansive porch at the forefront of With.It House’s upper floor. The operable façade enables residents to open and close its wide vertical shutters according to any given moment’s desire to retreat from or engage with the world beyond. “The translucent façade changed the look of the original building to look more modern, while creating a new open-air living area and helping to increase the privacy of the residents as they please,” says Phitchapa. In terms of material and colour palette, With.It House has the austerity and finesse archetypal of modern minimalism at its best. The white steel of the perforated façade is carried through in structural posts, window frames, and outdoor furniture. Polished concrete grounds With.It House in a sense of monumentality and permanence, while timber floorboards and wall paneling offsets the otherwise monochrome spaces with just the right amount of warmth. BodinChapa Architects bodinchapa.com Photography by Rungkit Charoenwat We think you might also like GB House by Renato D'Ettorre Architects
On the ground floor, grand proportions and malleable boundaries characterise the common spaces.
From the street, With.It House is distinguished by a translucent white steel façade that seems to float one up from the ground.