A House Amongst the Trees – Three House by John Ellway
Video Feature
Paddington, QLD, Australia

Photography Toby Scott
Words Rose Onans

Straddling a flood-prone site in Brisbane’s Paddington, Three House by John Ellway takes form and its name from the way the home is split across three modules on site, giving it the ability to become three self-contained dwellings in the future.

The clients’ brief sought a place of calm and tranquility with the ability to accommodate their visiting parents for long periods of time. These aims, coupled with the site being subject to inundation, led to a simple yet elegant response in which the home is elevated above the ground and split across three modules, while a calm palette and curated openings to intimate courtyards and green outlooks create the desired sense of retreat.

The home’s flexibility extends not only to its future potential to be configured in a variety of different manners in future – operable shutters allow the inhabitants to control the level of permeability to the outdoors. Similarly, the grouping of the three modules on site is not only a means to allow the home to adapt to such different configurations but also has the effect of creating intimate courtyards between them that ensure the home feels it is nestled within vegetation.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and in recognition of this it is the most materially rich space in the house. Other, more private spaces are kept deliberately simple, focusing more on the inherent qualities of light, space, and air to create a sense of place. Changes in level also help to denote function and gradations of privacy, ensuring that, while Three House is consciously pared back, it is a considered, responsive and tranquil home.

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