The terrace house model has been a focus of urban densification strategies for some time now. This terrace house in Forest Lodge presented us with an opportunity to test how successfully we could provide a high level of amenity for this type. The existing house was in poor condition, lacking natural light and ventilation, suffering from damp with no connection to outdoor space.
Our aim was to modify the house to provide an agreed level of accommodation for an academic couple and their much-loved cat, provide a pleasant and private courtyard connecting to the main house, a garage / laundry plus a small self-contained studio apartment over with its own rear lane entry on a site that is 151sqm.
The resultant diagram has the house directly connecting to a courtyard garden set between it and the new garage and studio over, thereby extending space and vistas. On the first floor a study balcony overlook the courtyard and neighbouring roof-scape. The studio over the garage focuses its aspect to the rear lane so as to maintain privacy between house and study.
The proportion of the courtyard was critical to the scheme and was rigorously tested to ensure it didn’t feel overwhelmed by the house or studio. One key consideration was that the neighbouring property was not overshadowed by our scheme. This determined how far the main house could project toward the rear boundary. Our final resolution generated building forms that minimised overshadowing impacts, provided the required courtyard space, and satisfied the functional and aesthetic goals we had set.
At ground level the plan layout responded to this dimensional restriction by gently pushing the dining function into the footprint of the front study room to allow sufficient space for the kitchen and living area. This indent in plan is mirrored at the other end in the open screen wall of the garage at courtyard level.
A new stair is designed to read as part of the overall joinery layer with a skylight over to bring light to the centre of the terrace plan. Comers and junctions have been carefully considered generally given the scale of the project to provide interest and richness.
The material selection for the new works was limited to limed oak to floors and most joinery with dark stained floors in the existing spaces. New bifold doors and awing windows are steel framed units to the rear elevation due to their fine scale. Externally cladding is natural zincalume sheet, compressed fibre cement sheet, painted and rendered brickwork and stained shadowclad plywood.
The scheme also seeks to maximise solar energy storage with the maximum possible number of roof-mounted panels installed along with a battery storage system.
Terrace houses always provide challenges to architects given the level of constraints. This little project has delivered a well resolved and considered home for our clients, a pleasant private courtyard, garaging and a small self-contained studio over on its tiny lot. It’s a model worthy of consideration in our current urban discussions.
hammond building pty ltd
space joinery pty ltd
cantilever consulting engineers