Jacaranda House

The Jacaranda House occupies a heavily constrained secondary frontage along a narrow lane in an inner urban setting. Our brief was to make a small secondary dwelling that was a joyful, sunny, compact and economical place to live, that opened up to the beautiful existing gardens spaces, and that could accommodate the needs of a mobility challenged person in the future without extensive amendments.

The house has a tapered wedge form – that orients the interior spaces towards the jacaranda and established garden beds, and facilitates the required vehicle turning movement off the narrow lane. Stairs and bathrooms occupy the lane frontage, and are shaped to minimise their area for efficiency – and form sculpted recesses that flute the lane facade.

This compact 63sqm dwelling holds a living/dining kitchen area with a small day-bed alcove that could accomodate a full bed in the event that the owner was confined to living on the lower level. A small bathroom and laundry ensure that all of the essential daily life functions are available in the 41sqm ground floor footprint. The upper level holds a loft bedroom, ensuite and small study nook that looks into the tree canopy and could accommodate an independent carer, if needed, in future.

The complex site and planning controls required input from eight specialist consultants. The succinct formal strategy was able to accommodate these issues and challenges, without sacrificing its integrity in terms of site response and architectural character.

Roof water is collected and is plumbed for reuse in laundries and bathrooms. Windows types are carefully selected, and oriented particularly, to catch breezes and allow for drawing and purging of warm air through the raked sectional form. The dwelling is proposed as lightweight construction on piers to minimise embodied energy, and facilitate on site adjustment to suit the root system of the jacaranda tree as it is exposed during construction.

Matte colorbond sheeting makes a durable and subtle outer skin, leavened by timber inserts and warm coloured window joinery to soften the places where the interior meets the skin at ledges and windows.

Jacaranda House received DA approval in late 2019, and we hope, will proceed to documentation and construction in the new year.