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Direct Connections

Posted on Mar 11, 2016

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By Davina Richards

Separation of space doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of connectivity. This home seeks to maximise flexibility by carefully choosing certain architectural moves which allow the building to almost ‘expand and contract’ in response to a growing family. 

Designed by Sheppard & Rout Architects, the architecture is in the statement of space and interior planning with direct connections.

What was the design brief?

The design brief was for an informal family home with flexibility of living spaces to suit a growing family. The three children at time of building were all pre-school age, but a key part of the brief was to allow enough space for the family to grow.

How did you achieve this?

The main living areas while generally open plan, allow for a flexibility of use hinged around the central family kitchen area. The family living area has a direct relationship to the kitchen however changes in ceiling level and volume provide a notional separation.

Large sliding doors separate the formal living room and the media room, which allow for maximum flexibility. Smaller periphery spaces such as window seats and a study recess allow for a slight separation while still connected to family activities. The first floor bedrooms provide a sanctuary, connected by an open stair void / light well in the core of the house.

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Which materials were used?

Materials used include plastered precast concrete, a basalt stone entry wall which continues into the interior of the house, and cedar cladding finished in wood oil. The structure of the house is predominantly commercial in nature, including concrete and steel framed first floor however, the intention was to use quality natural materials in a form which relate to the local context and style of traditional timber framed homes in the area.

How is outdoor entertaining integrated into the design?

There are two distinct outdoor living areas which have strong connections from the interior. The tennis court to the east of the house is connected via a large tiled morning terrace, while an outdoor living area opens via large sliding doors to the northeast. The outdoor living courtyard is enclosed by the basalt entry walls with a bbq/fire/entertaining area with operable louvers in a steel frame above.

Does ‘green’ design come into this home?

While sustainable principles in terms of building materials were not a key driver to the design, effective building orientation allows for solar gain and storage in the concrete elements of the structure. A geothermal heating system is a key feature, with ground source coils under the tennis court converted to a water heated ground floor slab and radiators to the bedroom level.

What makes this house special?

A high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail of material junctions, from both a design and construction perspective.

Contractor: Mark Prosser Builders

Kitchen: Ingrid Geldof Design

Interior design: Furnish Scene

Project manager: Cequent

Sheppard & Rout Architects Ltd

www.sheprout.com

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