Brick Aperture House

Petersham, NSW, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Project Type
  • Residential
  • Petersham, NSW, Australia
  • 245m2
Project Year
  • 2017
  • Michael Nicholson
Project Team
  • Christian Grennan
  • Ann-Elise Hampton
Structural Engineering
  • John Carrick
  • Ecological Design
  • Petersham, NSW, Australia

The Brick Aperture House by Kreis Grennan Architecture is a single storey house in Petersham that sits on a small lot in an intact row of period houses.

The existing home presented itself as a freestanding cottage located between a commercial building and a car park. The Federation-style period features were well preserved, creating a beautiful historical insight into Sydney’s inner-west past.

Several beautiful trees stand in the rear garden of the adjoining site, providing a pleasant outlook and shelter from the summer sun. KGA’s brief was to provide considerable additional floor space and amenities for the existing occupants. Their design response protected the four traditional rooms at the front of the home.

On the ground floor, KGA designed a new bathroom, laundry, kitchen and dining area with a double storey void over.

The addition is connected with an articulated link under the gutter, revealing the connection through a series of skylights. Though strategic placement of glazing, the new volume edits a beautiful view back to a historic sewer stack, in line with three chimneys of the existing dwelling.

The double storey boundary walls are constructed from local recycled bricks. The internal painted brick walls provide material and colour continuity with the existing dwelling while clearly identifying the new addition. The external walls are face brick with a delicate tapered edge, framing the new building volume at the rear and creating a dialogue with the period houses and the heritage structures of the surrounding neighbourhood, celebrating tradition of masterful brick craftsmanship in Sydney.

Positioned above on a mezzanine level is an open studio space with ensuite overlooking the dining space, rear garden and trees.

One of the true triumphs of the Brick Aperture House are the various sustainable elements of the project.

KGA designed the new rear volume to be crafted from on-site recycled bricks, sitting on a new concrete slab with an exposed, sustainably sourced, heavily insulated, LVL and plywood timber roof structure.

The bricks and concrete slab provide significant thermal mass, which assist the occupants to control the diurnal temperature variation in summer and in winter the ability to store thermal energy during the day and release it several hours later.

This is done by controlling the solar access through the north east facing window. Solar control in summer is managed three ways. The trees provide the first line of shading during summer, two levels of eaves provide the second and retractable shading provides the third.

Passive cooling is provided through excellent natural ventilation, achieved in the new part of the dwelling through both the stack effect through the void into the open mezzanine level and compact spaces with openable windows on both sides. High level windows allow for heat to be released in summer.

In addition to the natural ventilation, a mechanical air exhaust system can be used to expel excessive heat on the upper level.

The Brick Aperture House by Kreis Grennan Architecture is a true triumph in modern sustainable architecture and design.

To view more Kreis Grennan Architecture Inspired Architecture Archives head to their TLP Designer Profile.        

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Michael Nicholson

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