Clifton Hill Courtyard House / Studio mkn + Eliza Blair Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. This brick and glass extension fits close to the rear of a double-fronted weatherboard workhouse in Clifton Hill. Designed to capture light from the north, as well as views of an existing bottlebrush tree to the south, the layout responds to both the site and the family’s desire for future flexibility. With lane access to the rear, a two-storey garden studio is nestled at the rear of the site, providing a green backdrop to the views from the tranquil spaces within.
Sustainability Features – Retention of the existing building.
- Passive solar design techniques for improved living conditions and building performance.
- Super-insulated walls and ceiling cavities.
- Double glazing high-performance windows.
- Thermal mass.
- Solar panels on the roof.
The brief was to remodel the existing (circa 1890s) home to accommodate a master suite with ensuite and walk-in robe, plus 2 additional children’s bedrooms, a central bathroom and laundry. The clients then wanted to create a light-filled, open-plan residential extension to replace a dated and poorly planned extension from the 1980s, as well as a garden studio. The new family home had to cater for twin toddlers and a teenager, as well as guests visiting from abroad. A garden studio was therefore proposed to accommodate this flexibility as well as help shield the view from a neighboring development.
As you were on a long and narrow south-facing allotment garden, the key challenge was how to get daylight and sunlight into the back of the house, as well as fitting in all the functional requirements for the map. The other key challenge was to design a home that could appeal to all age groups both now and in the future.
Despite the fact that patios take up space in the center of a floor plan, clients embraced the concept, knowing that the benefits would outweigh the loss of backyard space. Not only does the courtyard bring northern sunlight into the plan, but it also creates relief at the end of a long and narrow corridor. A deciduous tree that changes color with the seasons creates a focal point for the eye, as does the texture on the neighboring wall. The insertion of the courtyard also creates a more zoned open plan layout where the living room has a dual aspect to two different landscaped spaces. With twin children who need a lot of supervision, as well as a teenager who wants more privacy and separation, the planning needed to carefully consider these spatial conditions. A multifunctional room facing the opposite side of the courtyard provides visual connections to the rest of the house, but with the flexibility to become a guest room if needed. The garden studio with ensuite and mezzanine is intended to accommodate a range of functions including storage, gym, home office, teenage retreat and bike shop.