Sky House transforms the Sydney terrace house typology into an experience of the seasons, welcoming in the clouds, the trees and the sky. An aesthetically ambitious yet comfortable and functional family home, it creates a unique connection with the elements of nature. Starting with a pair of adjoining terraces in varying degrees of decay presented a challenging opportunity to reconsider the terrace typology and envision a sustainable house.
The atrium is a climatic device carefully calibrated to the natural environment and it is also the primary space organiser. It separates private and public spaces and creates a vertical connection between levels, giving every room dual aspect for cross ventilation, natural light and a connection to the outdoors that is expansive and multidirectional.
The approach to sustainability can be described as supercharged passive design and minimised technology. It is part of an ongoing search for ways to create climate-responsive buildings. Primarily environmental performance is achieved by the building form, with the central atrium creating dual aspect spaces and serving as a convector of light, warm air and cooling breezes. During summer heatwave conditions the clients reported that being inside feels like having air-conditioning even though this sustainable house has no A/C system.
The sky-window is a high-performance custom made element seamlessly integrated with an external sunshade screen which results in multiple open/close combinations, acting as the primary climate-modulator on both a daily and seasonal basis. An additional retractable shade system over the rear deck provides a protected outdoor area and reduces solar heat-gain to the ground level.
This sustainable house also incorporates two green roofs improving the thermal performance of internal spaces, harvesting rainwater, reducing the heat-island effect and improving views from inside. The small garden is watered by an under-deck rainwater tank.
Material selections include locally sourced plantation timbers and eucalyptus plywood, recycled aggregate gravel and the reuse of salvaged original bricks as a garden wall.