Three Parts House
Three Parts House is an alteration and addition to a 1950s clinker brick residence on a 1200 sqm block of land. The house is programmatically and conceptually divided into 3 parts – the Lantern, the Courtyard and the Brickhouse.
The Lantern is the existing 2 storey part of the house, programmatically it contains the bedrooms, bathrooms, a formal living room, as well as the entry. The north, west and part of the south facade are glazed with double layered U-profile glass panels to achieve a large singular span façade for monumentality, under the existing roof and eaves. 8 varying textures and frostings were selected to wrap around the existing structure, providing tactility and varying light transmission quality. This façade is further shaded by a large growing Ginkgo tree, and after dark the building turns into a glowing lantern.
The Courtyard is the link between the old and new, with the long corridor and sewing room forming part of this connection. This central courtyard allows light and air to penetrate into the depths of the building plate. Much like a Japanese Imperial villa, multiple layers of sliding doors and screen modify the spatial relationship between indoor and outdoor, transforming the circulation space into an extension of the courtyard, or using the retractable flyscreen to create a shaded, airy passageway on hot summer days. We envisage this space to be filled with flurry of activity throughout day and night, the direct connection to the courtyard making it the perfect for the kids. With that in mind the screens are painted as chalkboard with magnetic undercoat, these become kids’ doodle central, activating an otherwise utilitarian transitional zone.
The Brickhouse is the new addition, a space for the family, as well as for entertaining guests. It opens to both the courtyard and the backyard, bringing the two outdoor spaces together under one roof. All of the demolished clinker bricks were reused to form the western wall and laid in stretcher bond to match the existing front of the house. Through careful and meticulous calculation, these bricks were just enough to finish and return-in at the laundry back door, and new terracotta bricks continue to return-out and form the new pavilion in stack bond pattern.
As the brickhouse extends into the courtyard, simple brick-laid-on-edge brise-soleil screens form the walls, providing access and natural ventilation to the basement garage. This often seen but overlooked core-hole pattern creates a memorable and highly textured surface en masse, and at the same time, a functional and breathing façade.
There were significant cost advantages in retaining the existing building. Parts of the envelope, wall, floor and roof structure were retained and reused. Besides the 35,000L underground stormwater tank and grid connected solar panels, the sustainable approach in this project is guided by two principles: 1- Valuing existing buildings and adapting wherever possible, 2- Simple rules of good building practice: natural light and ventilation, outlook and views, easy access to outside spaces, used for soft landscaping for air filtration and seasonal shading.