A project by Brisbane-based architecture studio Arcke, Paddington Courtyard House is a light-filled subtropical home whose design creates a remarkable symbiosis between the building and natural environment.
The secret to this home is its central courtyard, which can be appreciated from both the upper and lower levels. Designed by Arcke, the residential architecture studio founded by Matt Kennedy, this multifunctional family home in Paddington, Brisbane, seamlessly connects inside and out. Lush landscaping, considered planning and carefully-positioned openings imbue a sense of calm and connection to nature that enhances wellbeing.
Once a traditional Queenslander, the home lacked an obvious relationship to the garden and needed increased access to natural light and improved circulation routes. One of the key moves was relocating the entrance to the eastern side of the property, facilitating an organic transition along the old veranda around the living room, past the courtyard to the kitchen and dining. Responding to the client’s brief for zoned areas, the home has been separated into two, with parent’s areas upstairs and children’s downstairs, creating harmonious family living. Opening up the lower level to the courtyard has transformed the children’s bedrooms and living space with light and ventilation.
Materials, which the team have kept traditional as a nod to the original Queenslander vernacular, make the home feel warm and inviting and include hardwood timber cladding, an iron roof, louvre windows, and patterned glass. While timber is one of the most significant elements of the home, making up the custom joinery, framing the sliding doors and lining the floors, glass also plays an important role. Traditional patterned glass panels combined with contemporary louvres control transparency and result in a dramatic interaction between depth and dimension.
“Every detail has been carefully arranged with the landscape in mind, providing an outcome that blurs the distinction between internal and external spaces,” Matt says. Landscape architect Dan Young parallels the architecture with planting that enhances spatial experiences. Varying species can be seen throughout the building from multiple apertures, providing interest and intrigue. It is a symbiotic relationship that today not only enlivens this contemporary interpretation of a traditional typology but creates a vibrant celebration of living in harmony with nature.