Street House was designed in response to the 27 Smith Street housing competition. Run by Sydney Living Museums, this competition looks at how housing can meet contemporary family needs.
The crises in housing affordability means the family home needs to be flexible. Children continue to live at home into adulthood, bringing with them partners and the next generation of kids. The traditional family unit has evolved into a broader community co-inhabiting a house.
Our simple design strategy is to break the traditional single dwelling apart, creating a communal street. Smaller, contained spaces on either side allow for independent, private living linked by the shared communal hub. The heart of the home is where shared activities occur.
The communal street creates its own micro-climate. It blurs indoors with outdoors. The temperature of this space is adjusted and controlled using effective passive strategies. It enables occupants to enjoy outdoor living far beyond the limits of the traditional back garden.
Emphasis on the communal street allows the perimeter of the building to become a utilitarian skin of services. The outer shell of the house references a familiar language of low cost utilitarian buildings – the corrugated iron shed. It has rainwater tanks along the sides and solar panels on the roof. The shell is quick and low cost to build. It maximises thermal efficiency by locating insulation on the outer skin and thermal mass on the internal skin. Roof space created by the simple steel portal frame is used as habitable area.
Traditional ideas of brick veneer are turned on their heads, bringing the brick inside. The brick is an object of rich texture and beauty. It is celebrated. The brick paves the communal street and lines internal walls.
The premise of this design is to use simple, low cost design measures to create a new house type. The communal street is both pragmatic and a place of beauty. It elevates the experience of the occupant by engaging with outdoors and creates the opportunity for the house to open up to the community and neighbourhood.
Winner - Professional Category - 27 Smith Street Design Competition