The Courtyard House occupies an unusual suburban condition. To the front of the lot, the existing brick cottage sits comfortably and empathetically with its neighbours, a familiar scene of Sydney suburbia. To the back of the lot however, a screen of lush eucalyptus trees meets the fence, beyond the forest thickens and continues to a lake reserve.
The design strategy involved a double storey recycled brick pavilion inserted to the rear of an existing cottage. The space between the existing and new, creates an intimate and sheltered courtyard from which the project derives its name. An outdoor room, this space becomes the communal core of the household and opens the interior of the house to daylight.
The new insert, on a practical level provides much needed space for the growing family but on an experiential level acts as a framing device to re-establish a connectivity between the inhabitants and the landscape beyond. Big openings to the east bring much needed morning light and frame the forest canopy.
Materially, the recycled brick honours the existing house but brings a robustness and patina to compliment the rugged terrain of the lake reserve. Steel framed glass doors and windows accented with copper sets up the house for graceful weathering.
In contrast to the robust exterior, the interior materials exude a sense of softness. NSW spotted gum, stone and fabric with a paint palette of eucalypt greens reference the landscape and create a vibrant, light environment to support the various activities of the family.
Photography by Ben Hosking
Nominated for a National Trust Award and recipient of a 2014 Special Commendation by the NSW Institute of Architects, the project involves the major refurbishment of the existing heritage listed Paramount Pictures building in Surry Hills. The design response included a new cafe and retail spaces fronting Commonwealth Street opening onto a garden light-well to the rear. The project is a lean and considered solution to very complex constraints associated with an iconic heritage building.
Completion Date: 2011, David Hart for Fox Johnston Architects - additional fit-out works completed by Youssofzay & Hart.
Photography by Simon Wood
Periscope House – is a prototype design that builds on our winning scheme for the 2017 Missing Middle Design Competition run by the NSW Government Architect and Department of Planning. It uses the NSW R3 zoned “Dual Occupancy” housing type to extend an existing dwelling and build an inter-generational family home. The house draws on principles of passive environmental control, affordable construction as well as low water and energy use.
Introverted and small in scale, the house re-imagines a typical suburban home. It plays with the idea of rooms as a series of well-proportioned and carefully crafted volumes filled with natural light. Generous spaces are created to support the activities of family life. The name of this house is derived from the shape of the roof with apertures oriented to capture the moving sun throughout the day. Acoustic and fire separation between the old and the new is achieved through the construction of a recycled brick wall that also regulates internal temperature with its thermal mass.
Connection to landscape is interwoven throughout the building footprint. The frontage is sympathetic to other houses along the street whilst an enclosed internal courtyard provides a sheltered outdoor space that connects the sleeping and living quarters. The living spaces extend seamlessly into a verdant backyard that also provides a picturesque backdrop to the daily activities of its occupants.
With the release of the new Medium Density Housing Code in 2019, we look forward to further developing this typology across various sites in Sydney.
Visualisations by Darcstudio
University of Sydney’s Chau Chak Wing Museum currently under construction, is a new campus museum designed by JPW architects. We are working with the University’s museum staff comprising of curators, historians and conservators to deliver three exhibitions, set to open in 2020.
The museum will showcase the University’s rich and diverse collections from the Macleay Museum, Nicholson Museum and University Art Gallery.
Design of gallery spaces offer an exciting opportunity to participate in storytelling. We look forward to engaging with the ideas and histories behind these significant artefacts from one of Australia’s oldest university collections.
1. Anthropomorphic steatopygous figurine Amlash, Gilan province, northern Iran, 1200–550 BC. Nicholson Museum, NM70.4
2. Leeching basket, Herbert River, Queensland, c.1885. Macleay Museum, ETB.1069
3. Macleay Museum of Natural History Sydney University, c. 1893.
All images courtesy of the University of Sydney.