Tight budget is a great driver of innovation – something that Naranga Avenue has in spades. Working with minimal materials, James Russell Architect created a village within a village; an open-ended home for extended family in Florida Gardens, “a 1960s canal estate [filled] with leathery swinging grandmas and breezeblock houses”.
The only problem with breezeblock is that it’s expensive, and so is the damage wrought on it by the corrosive coastal winds of Surfers Paradise. Instead, James Russell Architect opted for a fringe of extruded clay bricks – an inexpensive, low-embodied-energy material that doesn’t require protective coats of paint.
Perforation within the brickwork acts as a mesh for the daylight, but alone fails to do adequate justice to the Surfers Paradise sun. To remedy this, tall window panels have been alternately installed along the upper and lower levels of the façade, finished with screens of expressed hardwood framing that turn living spaces into magnets for Vitamin D.
Or, as the architect puts it, “Sun becomes a dappled light, breeze moves through, rain becomes mist, daily rituals can happen in privacy but with views or awareness of your surrounds and it is secure.”
Connection is at the heart of Naranga Avenue. Rather than a house, James Russell Architect describes it as “a small village between forest and pool”. Even within the building, the floorplan invites movement through and around, looking through and talking across, connection between levels and conversations with country.
“This place becomes part of the neighbouring family, though more generous with forest to street,” the architect explains. “[It is] a place that is similar to its neighbours but with a finer grain or detail and more ambiguous about inside and out.”