With Scandinavian and Japanese influences, this house is designed around a central courtyard for a 'transparency feel'. An important two-word directive that formed part of the brief

Designed by Alex Urena Design Studio

From the building designer:

Design brief

•       Australian/Japanese

•       A large roof surface with at least 30 degree north facing area for solar panels to feed a Tesla battery and a Tesla car.

•       A Genkan (traditional Japanese entry way) leading to a central courtyard for a Japanese Palm tree.

•       Central courtyard to host a Japanese Palm tree.

•       Black Scandinavian exterior and white clean interior feel.

•       Discrete approach towards the street and side neighbours, while fully open towards the rear (yard and natural reserve).

•       Manage to provide a well, naturally lit house on a site where north is exposed towards the street and best views and yard are towards the south.

•       All areas at ground level except for master bedroom and parents’ retreat (both upstairs).

•       Address site’s constraints (flood levels, and 2 sewer mains within the property).

•       Work in collaboration with them to achieve an energy efficient home.

•       Aside from that, they said, “Surprise us”.

Design rationale

With Scandinavian and Japanese influences, this house is designed around a central courtyard providing a transparency feel from the Genkan (traditional Japanese entryway), through the courtyard and living areas onto the yard and a natural reserve at the rear of the property.

Providing beautiful natural light, airflow, and great sense of transparency across the house, and in addition to its elegant Japanese Palm tree, the courtyard becomes the heart of the house.

Concrete floors and recycled hardwood elements, added to clean white lines evoke the interior mood, whilst Deep Charred Black Timber cladding, combined with natural and recycled hardwood details, windows and doors, provide a special feel and texture to the exteriors.

Indoor and outdoor spaces merge naturally throughout the house. Large openings and access to natural light through different details and features provide a great perception of open space.

At the rear, gallery stairs blend the terrace into the yard providing purpose to the required higher floor level due to site conditions.

A Tesla battery, including an electric car charging dock, is fed by a large solar panel range spread between the 32 degree north facing roof and flat roofs behind parapets for additional support.

Additionally, hydraulic in-slab heating fed by solar energy combined with powered louvers for effective airflow, mean the house is always comfortable as seasons change throughout the year.

We believe that this project is a genuine representation of the owners’ brief – it is simple and honest in its approach.

The design is based directly on what they needed, what they liked, and nothing more.

The craftsmanship involved in its construction is a real homage to the chosen materials and raw textures in both exterior and interior elements. No one material “screams” for attention, instead, they all work as a whole and talk to each other throughout the house.

The owner’s tech savviness and passion played a huge role on the smart features of the house.

The design approach, from our end, made the house a welcoming venture for all involved. It was ultimately the house’s own personality that made everyone feel part of it.

Credit list

Building designer
Interior designer
Rachael Miklas Design & Detail
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Jason Miles Builder
Window/door joinery
Recycled hardwood

Designed by: Alex Urena Design Studio

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Tim Shaw

09 May, 2021

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