The Yarralumla neighbourhood plan seeks to ‘promote high-quality residential development that is sympathetic to the existing garden suburb neighborhood character in terms of scale, form and landscape setting’. In response the design of this iconic house by Leah Shelly of TT Architecture is intended to represent the expression of an independent spirit intent on discovering the creative possibilities of suburban life.
At the core of almost all suburban homes is an extended living space that serves as the hub of all domestic activities; cooking, dining, supervising children, viewing television, reading newspapers, surfing the net. As householders advance financially and socially, this hallowed locus of family life tends to expand until it almost overwhelms the interior. Seeking this nexus to the outside and achieving sustainable design become a core concept. The outdoor living spaces provide options for extended living in both summer and winter. Although Canberra is essentially a heating dominated climate the accommodation of the summer condition and the promotion of suitable cross ventilation are often neglected.
The accommodation brief for this house meets the template that would fit many families yet the design has turned the basic domestic scheme inside out, so that the nucleus of the house becomes partially outdoor space.
Colour is largely abandoned with light colours surfaces emphasising the curvaceous geometry of the architecture. The graduated use of materials from solid base to lightweight upper cladding is topped with an unusual curving canopy of corrugated iron.
As the inside is connected to the outside so is the upper-level connected to the lower. The large void above the family room deconstructs the compartmentalised nation of the traditional house plan. This architectural device allows light to suffuse the heart of the living spaces.

project credits
Design Architect: Leah Shelley
Project Architect/Draftsman: Leah Shelley
Structural Engineer: Ron Rogers
Photographer: studio2point8
Builder: Matt Hall

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