This sustainable home is part of our ongoing exploration of solutions that emphasise designed-in strategies to prioritise comfort – eschewing technological add-ons – based on our understanding of, and tuning into, daily and seasonal variations in climate.
3-Garden House reconfigures a typical inner-city workers’ cottage into a series of light-filled spaces and outdoor places for a retired couple. The owners have lived in this house for over 25 years, and while they always planned to renovate, their busy-ness with work and many activities including music, art and reading, meant they hadn’t found the right time.
However after retiring – when they were spending more time at home – they decided it was now or never.
Our initial design conversations soon veered away from the specifics of internal space requirements to the possibility of creating a new void in the living space, to frame the entire living experience as a series of connected gardens.
Working in close collaboration with landscape designer Liz Looije, we reconfigured the plan around 3 new gardens: the front garden meets the public domain in a riot of native grasses and banksias complemented by an existing Japanese maple tree. The rear garden is framed by a stately magnolia and the remains of a Chinese tallow, with added understory planting creating a lush setting. The central courtyard is an urban garden where sun, shadow and sky provide connections to nature.
Through a combination of space planning and dynamic elements, the sustainable home now adapts to and accommodates the owners’ changing needs. This applies to social situations – when daytime or overnight guests are present; and seasonal variations – the living room caters to changing climatic conditions; as well as the rhythm of daily habitation, creating a beautiful sustainable hoome they can enjoy year round.