Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
New House At Milton St in Victoria, Australia by Jost Architects
May 30th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Jost Architects
The Elwood House is a new residential dwelling with a separate garage and studio to the rear. The client’s brief was for a modern family home that was interesting and exciting but not to the detriment of the comfort to the occupants and within a sensible budget. “The client wanted a house that was clean, distinctive and enjoyable to use without feeling like they were an object in their own home because it was of a contemporary design” says the architect, Patrick Jost.
Conceptually, the house is separated into two clearly defined elements to the upper and lower levels. The lower is a solid masonry form, giving the impression that a block has been carved and hollowed revealing areas of the interior from different external views which in turn create views of the surrounding area from the inside. The timber clad upper level sits over the top as a lighter, more private element. This interacts with its solid base, cantilevered over some areas creating sheltered areas and set back in others allowing more open contact to the surroundings. A flat roof was required to reduce the height of the structure within the street but the arrangement of the cladding, with angled junctions between the timber and cement sheet cladding negated the boxy form that is always so often associated with current modern buildings and also references the pitched roof angles of the neighbouring properties.
Internally, a combination of simple, natural and low maintenance finishes create an inviting and clean aesthetic. The living areas, including an internal courtyard between the formal living and dining area on the ground level, are separated by large double glazed sliding doors. When open these doors allow the spaces to be visually combined, right through from the front to the rear of the main house. When closed, due to the reflection generated by the glass layers of the doors, make each space more intimate and private.
While the client’s brief was not specific in requesting that the building was to be environmentally sustainable, the practice’s design principles endeavored to deliver an energy efficient home through sensible planning and layout, where the house should perform according to its local environment, allowing plenty of natural light and ventilation without relying solely on the use of mechanical heating or cooling to be comfortable. Glazing is primarily orientated to the north and east and sunlight is controlled by built form such as eaves overhangs or the position of main elements of the building and areas facing west and south use more bulk structure and therefore increased thermal mass. Building techniques such as standard domestic wall construction are combined with high performance insulation and air gaps to improve thermal performance, double glazing is used throughout the house and building products such as engineered flooring and sustainable timber cladding were particular environmental decisions.
The conscious architectural decision to evenly spread the level of finish over the whole project rather than concentrating on any one part meant the quality of the aesthetic is consistent throughout the whole house and coupled with a careful overall building arrangement that minimized structural complexity meant the project was simple to build, came in on budget and had a high level of design quality.
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