Architectural Context With a Contemporary Twist - Bardolph Gardens by Breathe Architecture
Glen Iris, VIC, Australia
Bardolph Gardens, a pair of single-storey townhouses designed by Breathe Architecture, take inspiration from the surrounding architectural context and reinterpret it with a contemporary twist to create two environmentally-sustainable, affordable and well-designed rental homes in Melbourne’s south-east.
The red brick materiality that prevails in the surrounding area is celebrated through the simple device of a red-brick screen whose form echoes the archetypal gable roof silhouette. The simplicity of this facade creates a powerful contribution to the streetscape, respectful of the residential context yet contemporary in its impact. The form and pitch of the roof planes, in turn, echo the nearby houses, becoming a visibly connected part of the neighbourhood’s character.
Entering the home through either a protected courtyard or landscaped gardens, one discovers a light-filled, calm interior with soaring vaulted ceilings. Every room has an outlook onto greenery, with a series of brick screens creating small courtyards that bring dappled light and air into the home. The materiality of the interiors is as humble yet effective as the exterior, with a robust pared-back palette of concrete floors, white plasterboard walls, white and timber veneer joinery, recycled timber kitchen benchtops and terrazzo tiles.
The form and pitch of the roof planes, in turn, echo the nearby houses, becoming a visibly connected part of the neighbourhood’s character.
While responding respectfully to the surrounding traditional architecture, Bardolph Gardens is forward-thinking in its focus on sustainability. Each home is designed to a minimum 8-star energy rating. Passive design informs the homes’ orientation and materiality to maximise thermal mass, and their approach to sun-shading, winter solar gain and cross ventilation.
In addition to utilising passive design principles, Bardolph Gardens is designed to operate from a zero-fossil-fuel services system, including a solar photovoltaic array and a heat-pump to supply hot water. Rainwater is collected and plumbed to toilets and garden taps, while double-glazing helps to maximise the thermal performance of the building envelope.
The red brick materiality that prevails in the surrounding area is celebrated through the simple device of a red-brick screen.
Such an approach puts it at the forefront of Australian new builds, most of which struggle to achieve the minimum-required 6-star rating. In particular, this emphasis on sustainability makes Bardolph Gardens an exemplar within the rental market, with rental homes lagging behind owner-occupied homes in regards to environmentally-sustainable design.
Bardolph Gardens highlights the value of simplicity when combined with good design, and emphasises that architecture, affordability and sustainability can go hand in hand. Above all, with this project, Breathe Architecture prove that better rental housing is not only possible, it is something worth striving for.