© 2018 Toussaint & Volz Brisbane, Australia

Our Skinny House

Our own home has been the centre of some attention lately. It's been called the skinniest house in Australia by The Courier Mail. We're not sure that it is definitely the skinniest, but it's probably close! We call it The Two Pavilion House and you can see some images and read more about it here.

The design for the Two Pavilion house was largely developed in response to a difficult site. With a 5.5 metre wide, West facing street frontage that overlooked a railway line, the design for this house required a careful approach.  The decision to split the house into two pavilions was driven by two factors. One was to create a courtyard that provided daylight and natural ventilation while still acoustically sheltering the house from the adjacent railway line. The second reason was to allow for flexible arrangements of habitation; being that the house can be occupied as a single detached, three bedroom dwelling, or as a two bedroom house with a self-contained bedsit. This created a house that could be occupied by a multi-generational family, provide rental income, incorporate a home office, or a second living area.

 

The central space that connects the two pavilions acts as an important hub for the home with the kitchen and outdoor eating area as the literal heart. The main living area located at the rear of the home opens out to a small backyard that captures South Easterly breezes. The material palette for the house was chosen in response to its context; to mimic the houses in the surrounding neighbourhood, so as to soften the visual impact of its tall thin proportions. The timber screen on the front façade appears to be lattice work from a distance, referencing materials used in the suburb, but reveal themselves to be a pattern of circles as the viewer approaches the house. Located at East and West ends of the house, which work to provide privacy and shade the house from morning and afternoon sun, they were made by CNC routing circles into shiplap boards.  Materials were also chosen to minimise trades to save cost and environmental impact. Joinery units were designed to be freestanding, plywood pieces to ensure that they could be re-used in the future.

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The two pavilion house has a small footprint but provides a variety of living spaces that can be reconfigured depending on how the house is occupied. It’s an example of contemporary infill housing in the inner suburbs, and the capacity to provide solutions for affordable housing by working with a challenging site.