The Urban Residence re-invigorates the life of an existing Queenslander cottage in inner city Paddington. The original home sits prominently at the street edge of a steeply sloping site, overlooked by neighbours. The quest was to extend the home to provide new living and communal spaces and a master bedroom zone, while capturing a sense of serene privacy and retreat. The new work mitigates the issues of the steep site by creating a series of platforms and courtyards that expand the functioning ground plane. Spatial planning is carefully considered to create an intriguing geometry of interlinking planes that celebrate and embrace a raised grass courtyard on the northern edge. Volumes expand and contract in a delightful sense of play, with barrel vaults defining significance. Views to neighbouring houses are edited while portions of the sky, trees and mountains are carefully framed through a series of peepholes and voids. The owners are committed minimalists, and this drove the aesthetic of an elegantly bleached palette and stripped-back surfaces. The neutral interior surfaces subtly reflect and play with natural light, while exterior walls of sundrenched white appear as a chiseled cyclorama emphasising the vivid colours of landscape, sky and water. The soothing restrained palette is taken up in the re-organisation of the old cottage which is now dedicated to the family’s three children, with guest accommodation adjacent to the ground level garage.
Raised courtyard spaces enable Queenslander cottages to establish connections to the landscape. The crisp aesthetic of the new works exterior amplifies the character of Brisbane’s subtropical setting; - the quality of light and shadow, its bright skies and the landscape in deference to vernacular exemplars.
A new raised ground plane enables meaningful and direct connection between interior spaces and a usable exterior. The new extension creates privacy on a heavily overlooked site. Blade walls and double height external volumes protect the building from the western sun.
The existing Queenslander was re-planned to provide accommodation for children and guests with minimal demolition. Functional and flexible planning enables a growing family to transition through life stages.
The friendly and professional contribution of the builder enabled a collegiate approach to overcome site difficulties and adapt to client budget requirements.
Maximising the functional role of the existing Queenslander enabled its complete retention and a reduced extent of new work, creating a financially viable project. The use of lightweight construction enabled simple construction techniques. The use of a minimal palette of finishes and materials led to efficiency in construction and fit out.
Blade walls and double height volumes protect the building from the western sun. Controlled thresholds limit solar access. Light coloured rendered insulation panels provide very high insulation values. Courtyards and single room deep plans maximise cross ventilation. Reduced demolition minimised material use.
Planning strategies and material selections focused on the client’s request for a “peaceful house’. Child and adult ‘realms’ are defined, yet overlapping. The restrained palate of materials highlights the essential qualities of what remains in a serene heightened atmosphere of calm.