Smith Street is a contemporary, small footprint family home. The design reconfigures the typical suburban house as a multi-generational home, allowing an extended family to live comfortably and yet autonomously on the site. It provides a timely alternative to current housing stock, imagining a home that is modest, flexible and high in amenity.
To accommodate this approach, the block is loosely subdivided, with an L-shaped, four-person house sited towards the street, and a granny flat behind. The granny flat is easily adaptable, and could be rented for income or inhabited by a member of the family as a home office, studio or self-contained unit.
The house is a protected enclave configured around a shared, central courtyard. The volumes are contained by brick perimeter walls, which shelter the shared garden and keep it private.
The planning of the main house takes advantage of the site's aspect. Living is oriented to the northern sun, while sleeping rooms face east. Deep reveals to the west provide further shading.
Gathering is at the heart of this home, with an indoor-outdoor dining space extending into the courtyard. This space is ideal for entertaining extended family, and can be easily shared between both dwellings.
The house aims to be accommodating without excess. Measuring 145m², the design balances suburban expectations with sustainable economy. Bedrooms and bathrooms are deliberately compact, with kid's study desks thrown into a corridor to be kept visible. Shared zones are spatially generous, with high, uplifting ceilings and textured brick walls. Display niches and sitting nooks are carved into the perimeter wall, lending utility and delight. A master bedroom looking out to the garden provides a space for retreat.
Formally, the unique, off-centre pitched roof amalgamates two prominent suburban roof forms: the gabled California Bungalow, and the 1970's skillion, popularised by the likes of Pettit+Sevitt. This combination creates a playful, contemporary aesthetic that remains respectful of vernacular forms.
Sustainability has been considered across the building, with thick masonry walls and reverse brick veneer passively moderating temperatures. Glazing is shaded, either by overhangs or operable blinds
The design celebrates the beautiful, tactile and robust qualities of brick. Exposed brick facades are patterned with quirky details, while bagged interior walls capture natural light. These gestures, along with the use of brick paving, position the home as a family hearth, a place that feels grounded and permanent.
This scheme exemplifies our ambitions to design homes which are small in size but generous in their sense of light, scale, space and connectivity.
The design was the winner of the 27 Smith Street housing competition in 2015.