A Focus on Openness – House Frances by Those Architects
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Photography Luc Remond
Architecture Those Architects
Interior Design Those Architects
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Imagined as a journey through destinations, House Frances utilises a non-traditional approach in navigating an otherwise restrictive typical Australian residential allotment. Those Architects proposes a series of openly connected and linear gestures that align with a northern aspect for optimised passive thermal performance, reducing reliance on energy.

In its Sydney locale, House Frances openly addresses its allotment by turning its back on the street and instead being led by function and comfort. From an analysis of a more traditional and expected approach, where the home presents to the street and composes a series of rooms irrespective of location and positioning behind that, Those Architects instead chooses to open and orient to the north. The streetscape and the engagement of the dwelling therefore takes on a more subtle approach, hinting at is occupation behind a battened veil. Behind this sits a series of spaces that open at its middle to a generously landscaped outdoor space, marking the heart of the home. To either end, book ends of more passive and enclosed living spaces offer a retreat from the openness of the centre.

Light and rudimentary in form and finish, there is a similar robustness that connects with the clarity of the planning, where function and experience are heralded.

Although in a typified suburban context, the approach deliberately aims to rewrite an appropriateness of architecture to place. In choosing to focus on experience, the resulting series of spaces take the occupant and visitor on a journey less familiar in such a residential context. As a response to the long and linear site, the main activity and congregation occurs at the centre, pivoted to the north, which then opens to the garden. The orientation allows a sense of privacy, while also allowing natural light to enter the open planned living, dining and kitchen spaces and provide illumination and warmth at a comfortable level. Then, as a more closed program unfolds for the sleeping and amenity spaces, these areas are oriented to the east, west and south, where less desirable solar gains would inevitably occur.

The overall built form reaches a mere 200sqm, yet the home is envisioned as encompassing the entirety of the site – meaning all 600sqm is planned and deliberate. Each area, both internal and external, is imagined as its own destination, linked to the other destinations passed along the way. The careful integration and positioning of curated landscaped elements create a connection between the natural and the built, softening and balancing each other. Light and rudimentary in form and finish, there is a similar robustness that connects with the clarity of the planning, where function and experience are heralded.

In choosing to focus on experience, the resulting series of spaces take the occupant and visitor on a journey less familiar in such a residentially heavy context.

House Frances is ultimately a study of the suburban model and focuses on restraint at its core. Those Architects has dissected the traditional approach and pieced the necessary elements together with precision. The result is a home built for purpose and delicately in response to its site – as all homes should be.

Published 17 April, 2021
Photography  Luc Remond
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