Replacing a quaint but uninspiring post-war house, Box Hill South House talks to the ideals and values of the family inhabiting it. In considering spatial function throughout the day, Preston Lane creates an energy efficient home with articulated volumes and a consolidated approach.
Home to a family of four and a dog, Box Hill South House creates a calm yet dynamic interplay between spatial volumes and highly considered planning. Often viewed as a constraint, Preston Lane overcomes the southern orientation of the block through reconfiguration of planning arrangements. The resultant deftly crafted two-storey home allows northern light deep into living areas. Transpiring from a holistic review of the existing residence, alongside the evolving client brief, the new design replaces a tired weatherboard with one in which energy efficiency provides an honest and unpretentious backdrop for everyday life. The arrangement of spaces into four distinct zones is subtle but definitive, creating individual spaces for each family member to retreat and restore before coming together to share daily rituals. Bedrooms interspersed with living spaces, designed to be inhabited at different times of day, address level changes across the site, further enhancing the considered narrative of separation and connection throughout the residence. Following the slope of the land, the progression through the home culminates in the main living space with direct views to the pool.
The arrangement of spaces into four distinct zones is subtle but definitive, creating individual spaces for each family member to retreat and restore before coming together to share daily rituals.
Strong client interest in energy efficiency led to the design seeking to utilise solar and heat pump technologies when powering the home. A large solar array on the upper roof feeds the heat pump providing hydronic underfloor heating in cooler months and pool heating throughout summer, ensuring comfort throughout the year. Full height windows to a void over the main living space bathe the room in northern light during the day, offering a crisp delineation between zones. Preston Lane takes advantage of the opportunity to access more precious northern sun through turning clerestory windows to kitchen and dining areas into a thermal chimney, allowing heat to vent through high level openable windows as required.
A subtle and restrained palette of honest and tactile materials placed meticulously throughout draws the outside into specific areas, blurring lines and creating dialogue between residence and landscape. Upon approach from the street, delicately articulated painted brick walls line the entry while robust crazy pave traverses underfoot, eliciting a sense of honesty to the new home. The textural nature of these surfaces is seamlessly continued through the entry extending beyond a frameless glass window, drawing the eye to a simple tree in the east facing courtyard. Reflecting the client’s sensibility for beauty and practicality materials have been selected for their honesty and ability to improve with age.
With clear expectations regarding energy efficiency from the outset, Box Hill South House emerges from the successful layering of honest materiality, spatial awareness, and desire to embrace the existing site. Preston Lane has demonstrated considered understanding to create a home that connects to the family’s current and future needs.