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The Downsize
by bg architecture



A distinctive contemporary presence met with a subtle nod to modernist aesthetic, this single level house encapsulates a retreat for a mature couple to enjoy their quality years together. Driven by the desire to create a private oasis within suburbia, the design of the house employs a focus within to the site to generate privacy and quietude. With the client's emphasis to create a private living environment, each living zone has a view out to at least one courtyard with the inhabitant seemingly unaware of the neighboring properties. Coupled with its modest scale and a restrained palette, the design of the house presents an elegant sophistication that sits proudly in its surroundings. This controlled use of colour makes for an impressive statement, as well as the bold horizontal fašade and solid fence allowing for the house on the corner of two streets to not go by unnoticed. Particular to the sitting of this single level dwelling is its corner location on a busy road with the speed of vehicle traffic inspiring the design of a dynamic horizontal fašade to the predominant street frontage. A solid fence aids to buffer the traffic noise with the secondary spaces of the home enjoying an outlook into a tranquil courtyard that captures the sun the north and west sun. This property enhances its busy streetscape with its contemporary presence complemented by the humble scale of the dwelling. This single level home focuses on views within the property with particular reference to the creation of a private sanctuary for every day living

and the occasion of entertaining. The house is entered via a courtyard through a full height concealed timber pivot door marked by a sunken water feature that cuts into the entry. With distinct zones, this dwelling still maintains an open yet unrestrained existence by maximising outlook to courtyard vista with a subtle transition between living spaces, such as a sunken den area with a view to an expanse of full height bookshelf and framed view to the entry water feature. The external areas of this property were a collaborative design with the landscape designer. These exterior spaces are designed as external rooms containing water features, sunken reflection garden and in-built seating to create a cohesive integration of the external and the internal zones. In close consultation with the client and the building contractor, the architectural outcome satisfied the brief within the constraints of a specific budget. The thermal efficiency of this residence is facilitated by maximising cross ventilation via multiple landscaped courtyards and water features to facilitate the cooling of hot air. This is further assisted by high level louvred windows to allow escape of hot air in the warmer months. The design of the house was to primarily provide a practical living solution for the empty nested couple's requirements in a sophisticated setting whilst maintaining a relaxed atmosphere. The final product is a house that is distinctive, yet accessible for everyday living and one which is fine tuned to the client's lifestyle.

Brighton, VIC
bg architecture
Contact address:
Project Team
Project architect: Greg Buhagiar
Design architect: Adam Grundmann
Design architect: Donna Brezenski
Design architect: Hazel Porter
Project manager: Elliot Verblum
Structural consultant: Meyer Consulting Pty Ltd
Mechanical consultant: Airflow
Lighting consultant: Lighting Partners Australia
Lighting consultant: Raskin & Associates
Builder: Platinum Construction (vic) Pty Ltd
Landscape Gardener: John Horton
Joiner: Champion Architectural Joinery Pty Ltd
Photographer: Scott Newett
Building surveyor: GE Building surveyors

Photographs by Scott Newett, text by bg architecture

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects