“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This is the William Norris quote that greets guests to the website of architecture practice, tenfiftyfive.
In Park House, everything has its right place; every form and material is required to contribute. The home is built around two gumtrees that dominate the site and give the design its twin pivotal themes: nature and sustainability.
The top-heavy structure of the residence makes explicit its juxtaposing functions. The ground-level plane is wrapped in full-length windows, which maximise the infiltration of sunlight and views to surrounding foliage. This level – a communal living area defined by concrete, timber, brick and glass – is all about openness and connectivity, of both the inward- and outward-looking varieties.
The cantilevered first floor still capitalises on views, but the façade is more closed-off by a timber beam envelope. The material choice reveals an overarching concern with privacy and noise regulation. Windows on this level have either frames or screens of matte-black steel.
The material combination was chosen for its durability as well as its energy-storing and temperature-regulating potential. The concrete slabs that support the first floor’s balancing act over the more permeable ground level uses in-slab hydronic heating. As well as contributing to the thermal comfort of the dwelling, the slabs provide a noise barrier against the mess and drama of the children’s bedrooms.
The material palette of Park House is largely foraged from recycled and salvaged materials – for instance, the feature wall support made from old Oregon rafter. This commitment to pre-used materials is a nod to the architect’s concern with sustainability, as well as proof that there’s more than just one use for everything.