Hover house is a residence in beachside Mt. Martha (Victoria, Australia) re-imagining the single dwelling courtyard on a rear battle-axe block. The project brief was for a tranquil, sustainable and private home filled with natural light, warmth and texture. As privacy and outlook were limited the concept sought to create a captivating internal focus in the form of a central courtyard, providing a strong link between key spaces. In order to maximise natural light and privacy a simple sectional gable shape was extruded through the east-west axis of the house, resulting in a form that efficiently collects rainwater, incorporates sustainable passive systems and emphasises views to distant gum tree canopies.
Hover House provides the clients and their friends and family with a warm and functional home all year round, adaptable to varying internal and external circumstances. Lovingly detailed concealed sliding doors and timber screens allow for the flexibility of each bedroom wing to be open or closed independently from the main living space, aiding energy efficiency and privacy and varying the character of the house with different configurations. Bedrooms and kitchen areas also capture discrete connections to exterior gardens around the site periphery, complementing the courtyard focus of the living and entry areas.
Internal concrete blockwork, timber veneer and a polished concrete floor provide cost effective texture and warmth throughout the internal living spaces. The reverse veneer blockwork, insulated concrete slab and fireplace are also effective as thermal mass and, combined with passive ventilation, result in a low energy house which is cost effective to run.
Hover House is a “replicable prototype for cost effective, high-amenity housing” (Nigel Bertram, AIA Victorian Architecture Awards Jury 2014) suitable for other sites where a hostile outlook invites the creation of a meaningful inward focus.
Sustainable design principles, function and form are linked through an elegant and unique solution. A simple sectional gable shape was extruded through the east-west axis of the house, evolving the traditional courtyard typology. The resulting form maximises natural light and privacy, efficiently collects rainwater and emphasises views to distant gum tree canopies. Simplified construction methods were possible and required little steel, reducing building costs and carbon emissions.
Internally, the gable roof provides sun shading to the living areas whilst establishing dynamic interior volumes, from intimate bedrooms to higher living spaces which reach towards northern sun. Two bedroom wings extend from the living spaces and are zoned via lovingly detailed concealed sliding doors and timber screens, enabling the flexibility of wing to be open or closed independently, aiding in sun shading, energy efficiency and privacy.
In the living spaces, reverse veneer blockwork, an insulated polished concrete slab and a concrete fireplace create warmth and texture whilst providing effective thermal mass. Meticulous window placement captures discrete connections to exterior gardens and provides passive cross ventilation, resulting in a low energy house which is cost effective to run.
Sustainability of function and useability were also important considerations for the current and future occupants of Hover House. We imagine and look forward to future interpretations of this model making a contribution to other contexts where a challenging outlook highlights the opportunity for the creation of a compelling inward focus.
AIA Victorian Architecture Awards 2014
Residential Architecture New House
AIA National Architecture Awards 2014
Residential Architecture New House
Australian Interior Design Awards 2014
Houses Magazine Awards 2014
New House Over 200sqm