The Clients approached us with their recently purchased 24 Irwin Street, Yarralumla – a site with many constraints, but equally, with many opportunities. As the block had been neglected for many years, we started by planning the removal of all overgrown and invasive plants while retaining a regulated, large remnant tree. This distilled the block to its raw form; a corner block with a very large area (especially by Yarralumla standards), with potential views to Black Mountain and the Brindabellas. The orientation was a constraint, facing North-West with South-Western views to the adjoining park. The natural slope of the block, existing verge crossings and block size, offered great flexibility in fulfilling the client brief for a South African-inspired classical house, though somewhat challenged by the significant remnant tree size and its location.
Terry, having grown up in South Africa, was able to realize their vision with genuine understanding and passion. The clients offered an A3 diary filled with houses showing similar scale, proportion and design. We extracted these elements and reflected them in a two storey classic home that focused on symmetry and scale. The clients received all the rooms they desired due to the substantial size of the block and the two storey design.
The clients sought double brick construction, inspired by the construction methods they had seen in South Africa. This assisted substantially with the improvement of the thermal insulation of the house and allowed us to create deeper reveals at the fenestrations.
UPVC window frames were selected due to their flexibility in colour selection. A dark colour externally matched the timber fascia and roof tile, a lighter colour internally matched the interior specifications. The uPVC frames provided great U-Value and a SHGC lower than aluminium, allowing us to achieve a 6.7 star EER. Keeping the external material palette limited to white rendered brickwork and dark detailing celebrated the classic, symmetrical design.
With frontages to both Irwin Street and the Hampton Street Park, it was important to focus on appearance to both streetscapes. The design reads as symmetrical from both. The large remnant tree in the middle of the block became a substantial influence on the location of the house, pushing the house to the lower side of the block. The remnant tree became the central axis of the design, creating a park like setting between the house and the pool and cabana area. This setting sets the house softly into the Irwin streetscape. The house colour palette was chosen to allow the classical elements to be expressed through stronger colours on the columns of the house. Dark tiles were used to mimic the South African thatched roofs. Balconies were used to create visual interest and allow the owner to enjoy amazing views. The black window frames and powder coated ornate balustrades highlight the house in exactly the form the client envisaged in their A3 diary.
The design enabled zones within the house for family connection, quiet zones, active zones and sleeping zones. The central foyer became a main point of circulation to minimise the amount of hallway space. The foyer connects all zones through a small footprint at the centre of the house. The curved staircase in the foyer connects the two levels and limits wasted space in the classical language of the house. The main living rooms are on the ground floor with connections to the laundry, kitchen, garage, pool and alfresco areas. The top floor incorporates a large living room and one wing for the children’s bedrooms with views to the pool and cabana area. The main bedroom, also located on the top floor captures views to Woden and the Brindabellas with its own living room with fireplace. There is also a substitute master bedroom on the ground floor for the clients when they are older. The house incorporates large ceiling heights and all the classical elements, volume, scale and proportion which create the desired classical home.
The team comprising Manteena, Archertec interiors and Architects Ring and Associate captured the client vision and delivered beyond their expectations with an authentic home that creates a “sense of place”.