October 15, 2012

Victorian terraces are a typical typology of Sydney housing, and yes they make for a quaint, charming streetscape. Yet, almost all suffer from the same syndrome: lack of light, caused through their typical narrow window casements at front and typically enlarged-in-the-1970s French doors at back. Some may benefit from a skylight or two. The owners to this dark, narrow terrace house in harbourside Double Bay were unequivocal in their brief: Let there be Light!

In keeping with the client’s desire to not disturb the streetscape, the original facade was retained, while the rest of the house was completely demolished. The new design maximizes natural light and cross ventilation to all spaces by north-facing clerestory windows along the length of the long building. Communal spaces have been maximized and a sense of airiness achieved by a play of vertical rods to toy with depths of field.

A void over the central kitchen/dining area features an overhanging bridge that allows the most public area of the house to be continually enjoyed as you circulate on both floors. The width of the site is maximized by fully opening up to a landscaped side passage blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor and benefitting from the long Sydney summers.

This is not just a bijoux home, but a new way of living in typical Sydney terrace housing.

Author: Nick tobias