Outside Inside House

  • 2016

  • Architectural
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Neil Cownie Architect

Commissioned By:

David & Susan Whittome

Designed In:

Australia

For a family moving from the UK as their first house together in Australia. Subtle references to British tradition, while celebrating their move to Australia to embrace the outdoors.
Seamless transitions from outdoor to indoor spaces bring the outside inside. Boundaries are blurred through the use of external materials within the house.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • The external building envelope has subtle references to the family's origins in British tradition in its street front form; the use of slate roofing, roof forms and fitting in with the conservative neighborhood. The remainder of the building goes further to respond to environmental and local site responses while maximizing connectivity between internal and external living spaces. The house form unifies these parameters.

  • A strong relationship between internal and external areas was sought for the main everyday living areas of the house, being the kitchen, meals area and dining room all connected to the central 'hub' of the house being the external terrace. Devices such as the highlight windows allow a constant glimpse to the sky, the blurring of internal and external boundaries through the use of external materials within the house and the large openings making visual connections. The stone walls used externally have also been used internally and the copper soffit lining to the upper terrace runs internally in the bulkhead and ceiling to the kitchen, meals and dining room thereby blurring the internal and external areas.

  • The ceilings within the dining room and kitchen / meals area are lined with timber battens. Along with providing warmth and detail to these spaces the timber battens also conceal acoustic insulation to assist with deadening the reverberant noise.

  • A 40sqm area of photovoltaic cell solar panel system, Nu-Lock Seamless Solar Roofing was selected which was integrated with the slate roofing which provides 4.86KW power to the house. Passive solar principals of design were incorporated in the controlled penetration of the sun into the house. Windows are externally shaded by automated venetian blinds and the terrace glass roof via automated horizontal blinds below the glazing. Natural ventilation has been maximised through the narrow width of the house in which the depth is generally only one room deep. All bedrooms have ceiling fans for ventilation and windows have glass louvers for maximum ventilation.

    The house has been designed with the aim to being 'timeless' and to gracefully age. To this end the building form and the type of finishes were carefully considered. Robust materials such as natural stone, copper and timber have been used for their aged patina and for the texture, detail and interest that they provide. The use of these materials has been contrasted with white texture coated walls to add 'lightness' to the materials previously stated. Walls and ceilings are expressed as unadorned interlocking sculptural 'blocks' and 'planes'.

    The new house was positioned to respectfully maximize the views to the Swan River thereby financially benefiting the value of the house. Constant visual contact with the river has been provided from every room.

    The Nu-Lock Seamless Solar Panel Roofing was an innovative new product when specified. The product makes the actual roof fabric the solar panel rather than the conventional solar panels being fitted over the roof. The result is a fully integrated solar roof. The use of steel was pivotal in achieving the underlying core idea of this house, that being the unity of internal and external living areas visual simplicity and openness. The internal areas of the dining room, kitchen and meals area are interfaced with the raised external terrace through two 8m lengths of corner parting electrically operated glass door systems.