Something I talk about ahhhh-lot are the benefits an architect can offer to design a home that makes the most of your block. Never has that been clearer than with Ballarat House, a home designed for a standard block in a new subdivision. In contrast to the off-the-plan options which offer limited customisations, this home perfectly suits its block and its owners' needs...
Eldridge Anderson Architects designed the home for director Jeremy's parents in a suburban estate on the western fringe of Ballarat. The couple, nearing the end of their working careers, were after a comfortable home for themselves, but with room for their adult children and friends to stay for short periods.
The most striking thing about the home from the front is the streamline folded steel gutter which extends across the whole width of the front facade. The roof rakes from the front of the home towards rear which means the living areas enjoy lofty ceiling heights while the ceilings over the bedrooms can be lower. This also maximises the amount of light in the living areas.
As you open the front door, you get a sense of the impact of the raking roof; the timber-lined hall with the ceiling raking overhead draws you towards the light.
When Eldridge Anderson started the project, the subdivision had just been established and the site was essentially an empty paddock, so the traditional site evaluation was more about anticipating what would develop in the future. As a response, Eldridge Anderson developed a simple, but functional plan which places the main bedroom and living areas his parents would use daily towards the rear of the block facing north. A two-car garage and service areas are then located towards the west and guest bedrooms to the east. A multi-purpose space can be closed off from the main living area via sliding doors or opened up to create a larger open-plan living area.
Extensive double-glazing to the north fills the home with natural light which in winter warms the burnished concrete floor. This passive solar design technique means the home regularly reaches 25 degrees celsius without heating even in Ballarat's chilly winters. Of course, the heat of the summer sun is blocked by a substantial eve which helps to keep the home cooler in summer as well.
The living areas open onto a deck surrounded by landscape; the perfect sunny spot to relax or entertain.
The materials chosen are low-maintenance and naturally textural. Two blade walls of concrete block run down either side of the home. Cyprus cladding lines the garage and continues inside adding a richness to the central corridor. Plywood joinery softens and warms the concrete floors and blockwork inside the home while timber windows and exposed beams give the home and honest and casual personality.
Even with a standard block in a typical subdivision, the help of an architect can bring out the best your site has to offer. In this case, Ballarat House is light-filled, low-maintenance, comfortable year-round, has plenty of outdoor space, and is perfectly suited to the owners' needs. That's a pretty solid advertisement for the benefits of using an architect versus buying an off-the-plan option!
Sections of Ballarat House