Successful completion of Habitat on Terrace [H.O.T.] at Toowong, Brisbane (Australia) in 2016 led to a second joint venture project between architect and builder, Longfellow Terraces [L.F.T.]. With both parties having a vested interest, many of the common difficulties of construction can be eliminated leading to a result that is rarely found in the market. The benefits of this collaboration extend to buyers who can enjoy a well-considered and well-built townhouse that is not usually offered in this price range. The resultant example is what the often-discussed “Missing Middle” could look like in Brisbane - a sustainable infill-development for the sensitive densification of inner-city suburbs.
Located in a Brisbane city council ‘Character Area’, the project had to comply with the stringent restrictions of the ‘Character Code’. Therefore, the design approach was to raise and relocate the existing Queenslander onsite and add the new terraces at the rear. Two conceptual drivers inspired the project, those of ancient people living in nature and “Sydney Terrace Houses”.
Trees have a central role in most indigenous cultures with the crown offering daytime shelter from harsh sunlight and rain, while providing night-time protection and safety from animals and enemies. Drawing inspiration from these ideas, L.f.T. provides a sheltered, unobstructed in- and outdoor living space with the “crown” hovering above containing all bedrooms. similar to light filtered by leaves, skylights together with stair and light wells allow filtered light into the habitable spaces.
Sydney Terraces meet many of the objectives of the well-discussed “Missing Middle”. Usually two or three storeys in height, they offer flexible and efficient floor plans that cater for varying uses, including commercial and residential. a typical layout would be: street – narrow front yard – two-storey dwelling –courtyard – garage/shed – rear laneway.
Combining solid and lightweight construction, the three new dwellings mesh the qualities of the traditional terrace house with those of the Queenslander. Locally sourced face brick is used in Party walls, with floors and external walls being timber framed and clad with a combination of compressed and standard fibre cement sheeting. Timber battens for balustrades, screens and cover for sheeting complement the contemporary shape while creating a contextual reference to the Queenslander vernacular.
Each dwelling embraces sustainability through passive design principles. Dwelling layouts aim to capitalise on sun orientation, while openings are maximised and positioned to allow cross ventilation. Skylights provide an abundance of daylight, while several layers of multi-cell polycarbonate sheeting avoid the problems of overheating.
Upper floor plates overhang below floors to provide self-shading and weather protection to the large sliding doors, which connect living spaces to the quintessential Australian backyard. A combination of solid and lightweight construction provides thermal mass while at the same time ensuring insulation of the external walls.
The development celebrates subtropical living by maximising connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. The entry sequence to the three rear townhouses reimagines the experience of arrival. A private external gate and stair leads one up to a beautifully landscaped yard and terrace for each home. Despite being compact, the living areas appear spacious through borrowing outdoor spaces and vistas.
Challenges involved in this project:
Located in a Brisbane City Council ‘Character Area’, the project had to comply with stringent restrictions of the ‘Character Code’. The design approach was to raise and relocate the existing Queenslander onsite and add three new terraces at the rear. Two conceptual drivers inspired the project, those of ancient people living in nature and “Sydney Terrace Houses”.
With a rather compact footprint these townhouses have been designed to feel spacious. The aim was to offer the best possible and efficient use of space without compromising on the overall perception of openness. This openness was achieved by maximising the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces and a very well thought through access to natural light.
REFRESH*DESIGN [R*] is an award-winning Brisbane (Australia) based architectural design studio committed to realising finely crafted contemporary architecture responsive to brief and context.
We have completed a diverse range of projects including houses and renovations, townhouses and apartments, commercial and hospitality projects.
The R* team is inspired by how architecture can shape a better society by enhancing the human experience. Our mission is to use design as a tool to surpass our client’s aspiration whilst at the same time balancing their intentions to positively influence the environment.
Our work has a strong focus on sustainability, underlined by its capacity to endure. It is contextual, adaptable, harmonious and well considered in the use of space, light, material and technology. Striving for the most meaningful and sustainable solutions, from concept to delivery, in every phase we continue to improve and refine the design until the project is complete.