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un arch: 0310.house

West End House – Baber Studio Architects + Marc & Co Architects

This house (under construction) sits in a street of many ‘Queenslanders’, a vernacular house typology of lightweight timber framed construction typically lifted off the ground with timber or concrete columns. They have an undercroft with varying levels (determined by the hight of the house and slope of the land) of occupation on the ground level and  pitched corrugated iron roofs and verandah. The adaptation of these houses includes raising, relocating and infilling underneath them, building (often consecutive) lean-tos to the upper levels or more recently, stand alone buildings to the rear of the plot.

This project investigates two core principles on the ‘Queenslander’ in this new residence without resorting to emulate its’ neighbours. These are for the condition of the ground (and landscape – extruding or eroded), and that of the roof. Many dualities existing in the scheme for this reason, including, but not limited to the ground being public and the roof being private.

Concrete is used as a primary material of the ground level in demarcating territory, establishing a connection with nature, and blurring the line between internal and external space. Off-board concrete is used in one of the few vertical elements in the scheme to connect the ground to the roof. The use of an off-board finish (made by using horizontally stacked rough face timber in the formwork process of construction) introduces the occupant or visitor to the notion of timber framing.

Timber is used as a primary material for the upper level, creating a playful tectonic of timber trusses that span the entire width of the house (freeing the ground plan) with exposed struts and ties that create places to sleep within, and objects to move around in the space. Walls on the upper level angled and facetted white being visually open to the raking ceiling.

A single skylight over the void connects the two levels from above, bringing winter light down the face of the angled wall of the bathroom to the living space below.