Situated in the suburban North Shore suburb of Pymble in Sydney, Garden House strikes a commanding presence amongst a vernacular of brick-face, hip and gabled post-war cottages.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe challenge we faced was to create a contemporary architectural home which did not detract from the modest neighbouring residences and stand out \u2013 as if it did not belong \u2013 within the neighbourhood,\u201d James Design Studio director Jonathan James explains. \u201cThe sculptural concept was born from the idea of creating a deconstructed simple suburban gable form reminiscent of the surrounding homes.\u201d\r\n\r\nResponding to a client directive that called for \u201cthe creation of an architectural home which pushed the boundaries of a typical suburban home\u201d, Jonathan has split the simple gable down the middle, dividing it in two. The in-between space has become a \u201clooking glass\u201d of sorts \u2013 a single storey glazed walkway \u2013 through which onlookers can view some of the contemporary forms of the house beyond\r\n\r\n\u201cMost houses in the neighbourhood have a distinct threshold between the front, publicly viewed part of the property and the private closed off spaces at the rear,\u201d Jonathan explains. \u201cThe front door often acts as a barrier between the outside world and what happens behind closed doors. The result is a house that is uninviting. Our approach was to provide glimpses of life behind the front door without creating a fishbowl effect. This was achieved by creating a view corridor between the street and the outdoor living spaces to the rear of the property. What happens internally remains private.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn addition to the glazed link, the architectural approach is a series of internal, intimate spaces linked through a series of corridors and courtyards. \u201cThis was important as the house was not to feel empty when the clients were home alone, yet a feeling of togetherness was needed when the house was fully occupied by visiting family,\u201d Jonathan explains\r\n\r\nThe importance of bringing the outdoors into this home is further underscored by a number of additional design moves. \u201cWe always consider the landscaping and attempt to inject greenery into all of our concepts. It is not uncommon for us to have an internal courtyard as we find it important to be as close as possible to a piece of greenery, regardless of whether you are inside or outside. This house was no exception,\u201d adds Jonathan. \u201cWherever one stands in the house you are met with an outlook of greenery whether it be through a gallery of windows or through large sliding doors.\u201d\r\n\r\nJonathan is referring to the residence\u2019s four courtyards, in addition to the external decking, the swimming pool and northern and eastern gardens, which he refers to as \u201cnegative\u201d spaces that pierce the \u201cpositive\u201d space of the building\u2019s footprint. \u201cThese courtyards inject light further into all internal spaces whilst acting as a physical barrier creating intimate spaces, but allowing visibility giving a sense of connection throughout the house,\u201d Jonathan adds. Furthermore, all internal communal areas open up to the swimming pool, which acts as the focus of the main garden.\r\n\r\nEnvironmentally, due to the narrow nature of the lot, the architects have taken advantage of the site\u2019s north\u2013northwesterly orientation. \u201cThe layout and footprint of the house were born from passive design principles,\u201d adds Jonathan. The main living areas face [north-northwest], drawing in large amounts of winter sun through the glazed facade, with overhanging awning roofs blocking out any undesirable summer sun. Additionally, blade \u201choods\u201d, around the glazed openings block the western sun in the summer months. Concealed photovoltaic panels, rainwater tanks and space for vegetables and herb gardens add to the home\u2019s sustainability credentials.\r\n\r\nInternally, Garden House boasts a perfectly restrained palette of timber, natural stone and plaster. This was in response not only to a modest budget but supports Jonathan\u2019s philosophy that one should rely on the interplay of texture and shadows to create \u201cbusiness\u201d within a building\u2019s interior and upon its exterior fa\u00e7ades. \u201cIf this approach is taken, and shadows are considered, the fa\u00e7ade will not be static and will see many changes as the sun rises and sets throughout the day,\u201d explains Jonathan. In addition, the contrasting textural palette of Garden House\u2019s exterior has proven fundamental to the success of this project as they also tie in sensitively with Pymble\u2019s vernacular.\r\n\r\nJames Design Studio\r\njamesdesignstudio.com.au\r\n\r\nPhotography by Simon Whitbread\r\n\r\nDissection Information\r\n\r\nRoofing by Arc Panel\r\nAluminium doors and windows from K&amp;K Shopfitters\r\nLinescape Pendent pendant light by Studio Italiana from Monde Luce\r\nCoral pendant light by David Trubridge\r\nFrench door integrated fridge from Fisher &amp; Paykel\r\nDouble bowl kitchen sink in PR1163U from Oliveri Professional Series\r\nKitchen tapware from KWC Eve\r\n\r\nWe think you might also like Gable House by Sheri Haby Architects\r\n\r\n\r\nPQs\r\n\r\n\u201cWe always consider the landscaping and attempt to inject greenery into all of our concepts.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThe layout and footprint of the house were born from passive design principles.\u201d\r\n\r\nInternally, Garden House boasts a perfectly restrained palette of timber, natural stone and plaster.