Dual occupancy development for ageing in place in National Capital Area in Canberra
The conceptual framework for this dual occupancy in Deakin, directly behind the Prime Minister’s residence, flows from the physical considerations of the corner block location and the client’s requirement for a very livable and “downsized” house.
There was a financial incentive for the client to also act as a developer with the second house going some way to cover the costs of the overall development. The second house was sold to another previous client of TT architecture is prior to completion.
The owners encouraged the Architect to ‘tread boldly’ and was pleased with the ‘on-time, on budget’, sustainable outcome. All associated with the project are justifiably proud of the result.
The conceptual framework for this dual occupancy in Deakin, directly behind the Prime Minister’s residence, flows from the physical considerations of a corner block location and the client’s requirement for a very liveable and “retirement friendly” home.
The kernel of the scheme is the idea that the main living space is effectively as “one-room thick”. This idea allows for a strong relationship between font and back and from the everyday areas to the sunny northern pocket. This dynamic also permits access to the more private summer courtyard whilst promoting good cross ventilation. This is a consideration often underestimated in the Canberra climate. In order to enable good sun penetration into the family room in colder months and enclose dramatic volumes in the central space the Architect has introduced a bold, visually arresting play of curving and floating roof elements.
The demolition of the old poorly oriented original house has enabled a new higher density development to meet the sustainability objectives of the Canberra Territory Plan (i.e. to reduce urban sprawl). The use of a rich and light palette of materials and strong architectural forms is in robust contrast to the conventionality adjacent buildings. The project aspires to catalyse the revivification of one of the more venerable areas of the ACT.
The corner block constraints and have provided an opportunity for the individual dwellings to tip their caps to different streets yet retain similar solar orientation. The mixture of single and double storey elements within the design pays respect the rhythm and scale of the street. Despite a minority of neighbour’s forcefully expressed reservations about ‘the shock of the new’ the retention of existing landscape elements has allowed the bold visual impact to be ameliorated but not disguised.
Client satisfaction and a ‘design dividend’ achieved with the sale of the second house is evidence of the successful resolution of the concept against the brief. The process has been a model of synergy, binding architect, interior designer, structural engineer, landscape architect and not least the clients themselves together.