Residential design can be extremely difficult, especially if homeowners are redeveloping a space with the aid of industry members.
Resident’s connections with their ‘home’ spaces make changing them an incredibly high impact decision and a nightmare for many architects and developers.
There is a method to this madness, however, and when it is followed, it can bring about residential developments that truly break the mold.
One such development named ‘hill house’ is gaining international acclaim, featuring on the television series Grand Designs and garnering critical acclaim. The Melbourne-based property development originally faced the issue that seemingly dominates residential design – natural light.
According to designers Andrew Maynard Architects, the small suburban house not only created problems due to close proximity to neighbours that caused lighting scars, but a late 90’s extension further worsened the problem.
In order to make the most of the sunniest part of the house, the core focus of the living spaces needed to be shifted.
“The site faces north, therefore relegating the backyard, the family’s primary outdoor space, to shadow throughout the year,” says the design team.
In light of this, a new structure was developed on the south side of the site, allowing full solar access. In order to cut down on extensive solar gain, a pure cantilevered solar eave acts to reduce solar gain in summer and invite it in winter.
Instead of using connecting stairs up both sides of the back of the newly redeveloped home, grassy slopes were implemented, earning the home its name as the ‘hill house’. Not only does this design aid in interior-exterior continuity, it also adds a very unique and environmental aspect to the overall aesthetic, allowing for a different kind of modern aesthetics that relies as much on the natural environment as it does the built.
In pulling the focus away from the traditional housing zones, the home owners and visitors now enter the house from a rear side entry straight into the living quarters, without passing all of the bedrooms – which has a traditional Melbourne home design layout – by entering into the living spaces by the original central entrance corridor.
For residential design to be appreciated and recognised as this particular development has been, it needs to go beyond the norm. Not only does it need to be aesthetically pleasing and unique, it needs to function well for both the client and future home owners.
When functionality, practically, aesthetics and contextualisation come together in the delivery of a project, the outcome is deserving of whatever acclaim comes its way.