Location: Taringa, Brisbane
Located upon one of the prominent ridgelines of Brisbane’s inner suburbs, Taringa House is a study in siting to yield views, form connections with the landscape and anchor to place. The long narrow site is conquered by a large fig tree dominating the street frontage which, by virtue of its sheer size, has informed usage patterns and shaped modifications to the site for the past generation. The new detached dwelling is sited with respect to the fig tree and is informed and enhanced by the trees influence over the site.
The site naturally features two distinct platform levels dividing it lengthways; a lower level leading from the street and a higher level extending toward the street. The dwelling communicates with this condition to inform circulation and develop connections with the topography. The program is spread across three levels. The first of which is ancillary in nature and is anchored to the lower platform providing a physical connection to the street. The second level features primary living spaces and secondary bedrooms which skirt the perimeter of the site, preserving a private garden and courtyard beneath and defined by the old fig tree. The third level pushes above the terrestrial planes of the dwelling into the tree’s canopy as a private loft housing the master suite and private study space.
Through its generous street setback, the dwelling gives breathing space to the fig, preserves the prominence of its distinguished pyramid roofed neighbour to the east and enables the existing embankments of the site and the fig tree to offer privacy to the dwelling without further intervention. This permits the primary “backyard” space to sit comfortably against the street, and the house to open its aspect to the north and east to address it.
The key relationship is defined between the dwelling and the upper platform of the site. The interface between the living spaces and outdoor space is carefully crafted to moderate views to the city across the landscape and between the formal and informal living areas. The visual and physical connections between different parts of the building across the outdoor space achieves a courtyard feel to the outdoor space without formal enclosure. This relationship is reinforced through clever manipulations of the façade interface which juxtaposes portals to interior spaces with reflections of the “outdoor room”.
Underpinning the dwellings materiality is a pragmatic approach to harsh climatic imperatives manipulated to reinforce legibility and provide warmth. Timber and weatherboard volumes are complemented by recycled brick, metal and concrete shells. Living spaces are anchored by a recycled brick blade wall that shields the dwelling from the west while synchronously highlighting pathway from the street that eventually penetrates and terminates at the nexus between primary and secondary living spaces.
Bo Husband, Stephen Martin, Matt Roberts, Peter Edwards, Sorrel Atkinson
Steve Bull at Black Bee Studios