Crawling up the aspect of Mt Coot-tha, on the fringe of the western Brisbane suburb of Bardon, this new household residence by Nielsen Jenkins responds to the realities of constructing among the many bushes with the advantage of many years of familiarity with the positioning it occupies. The comparatively steeply sloping plot was divided off from the neighbouring property, the place architect Morgan Jenkins had grown up together with his sister (now the shopper) and the place their mom nonetheless lives. This Nielsen Jenkins undertaking – conceived and realized together with Lachlan Nielsen – thus attracts on a few years of and from the positioning, scrambling over its contours and understanding its mild and hues.
In plan, the home reads as a generously proportioned and thoughtfully programmed three-bedroom residence. Its single degree is damaged into components that step down the hill face, so that you simply enter the core of the household’s shared areas (hearth-side dwelling reached by an ethereal eating room and kitchen) earlier than climbing as much as a semi-enclosed outside courtyard, above which sits a string of bedrooms and areas for play and examine.
A steady hall, punctuated by stairs, runs up the aspect of the home – a backbone of types, off which extends a sequence of planes, every with distinct features. The ceiling of the comparatively slender hall reaches as much as a full two-storey peak on the entrance earlier than dropping down as you head towards the again of the home – a constraining (or enclosing) impact exacerbated by the play of imposing concrete block partitions. Concrete subtly codes these moments when the ground touches the slope, whereas timber performs the identical position the place it sits above the hillside.
The northern view from the lounge takes the attention past the positioning, over the suburban cloth of Bardon and Ashgrove. Home windows in any other case look into the encircling eucalypt forest, as much as the sky (by its cover) or, additional up the slope, down into the courtyard and eating room. Within the ensuite and fundamental loos, blue-tiled showers open immediately into small retained gardens and to the sparse forest past – privateness assured by the contours of the positioning.
The home gives the look of being embedded within the hillside, climbing up the slope slightly than working down it. The stepped hall, which runs towards the contour strains, ensures that you’re at all times following the slope of the hill, and the planes of the home provide a sequence of pauses in a every day routine of shifting up and down.
Pushed by pragmatic materials selections, the muted color palette permits the home to mix additional into the forested hillside. Probably compounding this impact is the in depth use of concrete blockwork within the partitions of the home itself and within the retaining partitions that outline its exterior planes. Partitions of concrete block determine prominently on each the outside partitions and the main inside partitions. These partitions are nothing if not fastidiously accomplished, and left unrendered the fabric and its development are obliged to carry their very own – as they do, very effectively. This nice use of concrete blockwork isn’t the one occasion the place industrial or commonplace merchandise have been deployed to nice impact, however it’s the most spectacular.
The blockwork naturally fulfils one other position in making the home compliant with the necessities positioned upon new work in a high-risk bushfire zone. If the home is a finely crafted addition to the topography of Mt Coot-tha, additionally it is one thing of a bunker, constructed to face up to the intense problem of dwelling on a forested slope on this a part of the world. The undertaking neither shies away from this danger nor turns it into the organizing precept of the house. The architects have as a substitute embraced it within the detailing, materials choice, formal preparations and upkeep programming, the place code compliance has knowledgeable all features of the design. The architects let the potential bushfire assault degree (BAL) drive, above all, the constructing’s envelope, realizing that it has to maintain probably the most aggressive components out, even because it fosters a free move between the inside and exterior centres of the house. In sensible phrases, that is most manifest in how doorways and home windows punctuate the sturdy block wall.
That is, in different phrases, a home during which all particulars are pushed by financial system – within the outdated sense of residence administration. Starting with the constraints of constructing on the sting of a forest, in modest supplies which can be eminently suited to the job at hand, this work obliges these supplies to carry out at their finest functionally whereas serving as completed surfaces. The connections the home permits between itself and the world past are consequently each cautious and compelling.