Brunswick Mesh House is the renovation of a Victorian terrace house that takes advantage of its orientation to produce a thermally optimal home all year round.
From the architect:
Our clients and their young family had been living in their quaint single-storey, single-fronted Victorian terrace for several years and had had enough. Typical of many renovated terrace houses, all service rooms were located at the rear, thereby blocking access to the garden and the sun. The owners wanted to transform their ugly duckling into a beautiful, sun-filled, double-storey, functional family home.
As the property has a north-facing rear, we wanted our design to capitalise on this orientation and facilitate deep solar penetration. It was clear that the rear of the existing house would need to be demolished with only the two front bedrooms and what was a central dining room to be retained. Spatial arrangements are always linear in terraces and our proposed kitchen/dining/living was no exception with the kitchen being central to the plan and, therefore, farthest from the rear facade. In order to allow the sun to reach the kitchen, we proposed a double-height living room with tall north-facing windows. In fact, the winter sun does reach up to 10m into this living space and into the kitchen.
Within this main space, an open stair runs parallel to the central party wall to access the mezzanine-like main bedroom, study and ensuite. The upper level bedroom has south views across the rooftops to the city, while through a V-shaped ensuite window, one can sit in the bath and gaze into the void at eye-level with the glass spheres of a stunning, contemporary chandelier that hangs from the 5m ceiling.
In order to control the sun in summer, we proposed wrapping an expanded metal mesh around the upper north and east facades. The curious characteristics of this mesh mean the filtered sunlight that fills the living space in winter is mostly blocked in summer by virtue of the angled nature of the fabric. The mesh also acts as a “veil” over the upper form, simultaneously providing functional solar control and an ethereal textured aesthetic.
We have always maintained that clever passive design is crucial to the sustainability of any project. Ensuring that the winter sun can deeply penetrate living spaces for warming and illumination, while eliminating the summer sun through architectural devices is fundamental to sustainable design. With this project, we were fortunate to have optimal orientation and through our design solution, we sought to exploit this orientation to create a home that enriched the owners’ lives, while reducing their carbon footprint.