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.
Hover House in Victoria, Australia by Bower Architecture
July 15th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Bower Architecture
Hover house is a residence in beachside Mt. Martha (Victoria, Australia) which re-imagines the single dwelling courtyard. Site on a rear battle-axe block with minimal outlook, privacy or street frontage, the project brief was for a tranquil, sustainable and private home filled with natural light, warmth and texture. In response, the concept sought to create a captivating internal focus in the form of a private central courtyard, providing a strong link between key spaces. In order to maximise natural light and privacy a simple sectional gable shape was extruded through the east-west axis of the house, resulting in a form that efficiently collects rainwater, incorporates sustainable passive systems and emphasises views to distant gum tree canopies.
Hover House provides the clients and their friends and family with a warm and functional home all year round, adaptable to varying internal and external circumstances. Lovingly detailed concealed sliding doors and timber screens allow for the flexibility of each bedroom wing to be open or closed independently from the main living space, aiding energy efficiency and privacy and varying the character of the house with different configurations. Bedrooms and kitchen areas also capture discrete connections to exterior gardens around the site periphery, complementing the courtyard focus of the living and entry areas.
Internal concrete blockwork, timber veneer and a polished concrete floor provide cost effective texture and warmth throughout the internal living spaces. The reverse veneer blockwork, insulated concrete slab and fireplace are also effective as thermal mass and, combined with passive ventilation, result in a low energy house which is cost effective to run.
Hover House is a “replicable prototype for cost effective, high-amenity housing” (Nigel Bertram, AIA Victorian Architecture Awards Jury 2014) suitable for other sites where a hostile outlook invites the creation of a meaningful inward focus.
Part of Bower Architecture practice ethos is that the best architectural design solutions come out of the most difficult spatial problems. Hover House presented us with a site of little outlook, privacy or street frontage. Most of the big design decisions subsequently became an exploration into an architectural solution that generated outlook internally and maintained privacy whilst negotiating an unassuming exterior, indifferent to its lack of street presence. Presenting additional challenges were solar access and cross ventilation which are critical to all our projects.
The simplest design solutions are almost always the best but are the hardest to do well. The more problems that can be solved by a single idea the stronger the design concept is as a whole. Hover House underscores these similar notions and can be reduced into two simple ideas; a courtyard and a gable roofed building. Once this was clarified during the design process many future design decisions could be made in regards to these two interlocking ideas. How the ceiling might work, where the living spaces might be, how the zoning would work, access to the courtyard and so on.
We have always felt that buildings and their spaces do not need to be big to be generous. We learn from every project and remain excited about the possibility of future projects that challenge us to prove the value of architectural design in the built culmination of captivating conceptual ideas able to accommodate challenges of site and budget.
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