An Adjusting Vessel – House Fit by Panov Scott Architects
Newtown, NSW, Australia
House Fit is conceived as a forever home, flexible and adaptable in acknowledgement that spaces must be able to evolve as their inhabitants grow over time. Panov Scott Architects combines a progressive approach in imagining spaces that can be combined, joined and separated, all imbued with an enduring relevance.
The stories and connections we form with our homes are so intricately innate and nuanced that one size could not possibly fit all. And yet, a contemporary home generally fits a bill of similar proportions and comprising elements, resulting in a slew of houses that speak a similar design language, with little differing personality between them. Rejecting this state of affairs and proposing an alternative, House Fit is a home unto its own. Conceding that the functions a home is required to fulfil will fluctuate over time, Panov Scott Architects’ approach to planning and spatial relationships internally and also to the relationship between the building and its site emphasises the important element of flexibility from the outset.
Leaving the use of spaces open to interpretation, with fewer predetermined, permanently assigned functions, ensures the longevity of a building.
Engaging with two streetscapes, each frontage of Fit House is the face to a dumbbell-shaped plan, with formal and larger front rooms facing outward, allowing the garden to infiltrate the home behind. The home opens up the discussion about the importance of community. In the putting down of physical foundations, the villages within which we live, the local amenities, schools, grocers and public spaces, all become an extension of our homes and an important part of our connected narrative with place. While a home might suit the current owners as a young couple now, as their family grows their needs would change – and then change again when their children leave home. Adaptability can allow the home to breathe and change accordingly throughout all such life shifts.
Leaving the use of spaces open to interpretation, with fewer predetermined, permanently assigned functions, ensures the longevity of the building. Similarly, ensuring the home retained its relevance into the future required a differing approach not only to space but the finishes and materiality used to encase them. While needing to be appropriate to its suburban location in Newtown, the use of a restrained quantity of familiar and robust materials ensures their endurance.
Ensuring a continuation and sense of relevance also required a differing approach not only to space, but the finishes and materiality used to encase them.
Panov Scott Architects’ House Fit offers food for thought and an exemplar of how a home should support and adapt to its inhabitants’ changing needs.