Hamilton Courtyard House

By Gunn Dyring Architects

Hamilton Victoria

By: Gunn Dyring Architects

Internal Courtyard

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

The house is located on a suburban street in Hamilton, Western Victoria. Town opinion is polarised over the design. The design, resolved through form, geometry, materiality and colour has tested the community’s ideas of what is a house and certainly what defines a home. The flat roofs and clerestory popup sections sit amongst hip roofs on suburban villas. The heritage overlay reflects the existing housing stock of brick and weatherboard, from the nineteenth century to post war eras.

The open planned living, dining and kitchen is certainly not a new idea within the community however, designing spaces that are not singular in direction to a view or optium solar orientation is perhaps new for the context. Here, the living zone addresses external spaces on two sides, one very private in the central courtyard, the second semi private directly to the street.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

One design intention was for architecture, landscape and structural design to be integrated into a cohesive design solution. Architectural expression is partly achieved through structural design and the compatible landscaping is paramount to the success of the project.

The client has an elevated knowledge and appreciation of quality design. She selected the fittings, furniture and soft furnishing and assisted her son in the selection of the light fittings. These contributed greatly to the quality of the process and the final result.

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

Our projects, as a matter of course adopt passive design principles. The aesthetics of the Hamilton Courtyard House, is in part, derived from these principles.

Internal planning is arranged around external courtyards. The courtyards and living spaces are orientated north to maximise solar gain in winter. Natural light internally is increased through the introduction of high ceilings and clerestory windows, reducing the requirements of artificial lighting. The north facing glazing is protected by deep eaves in summer. Windows are double glazed throughout.

Large sliding doors to the south and north of the living space allow for excellent cross ventilation and a reduced reliance on air conditioning. The air-conditioning system, though seldom used, is zoned to address specific need and to reduce running costs.

Landscaping is paramount to this project and contributes to the property’s sustainability as many of the existing mature trees were retained. Plant and lawn selection are drought tolerant. Tanks are installed and rain water is used to flush toilets and irrigate the planting. Irrigation systems have not been installed to reduce the plantings reliance on water.