Mugga Way House

Views over Canberra

This project is all about the resolution of the plan in the context of a difficult site. The client expressed a desire to create a residence with timeless themes unpolluted by idioms that often characterise contemporary greenfield development. In this case the design references relate back to the good manners of the Prairie Style, quintessentially epitomised in the past by the work of such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright. This Prairie Style is characterised by low pitched roofs with spreading eaves, the articulation of the various horizontal elements of the building into bands of differing and contrasting materials, the use of timber, simple building forms, the obvious expression the plan elements and close connections of inside spaces to the adjacent ones outside.

To some, Mugga Way is one of the dress circle addresses of Canberra where scale, context and street elevation all play an important part in informing its character. This building expresses three simple understated and balanced pavilion structures as its public face. Despite the extreme slope of the block that imposes strictures on the site (and to a large tip extent determines the overall response of the building form) the front elevation nestles into the street in a simple low-key linear fashion. This is a relatively sophisticated yet understated presentation of what is essentially a residence of significant scale.

Despite showing a face the street which has a problematic western orientation the main axis of the building is set up to relate to the solar aspects crucial for good sustainable design. In this case significant viewing corridors across the centre of Canberra serendipitously come together with an optimal solar aspect; this is a bonus. The main casual living areas are organised onto the carefully contrived long east-west axis and flow out onto private, protected and cantilevered external patios