Front yards are a no-man's-land -- neither private or entirely public they become little more than a thoroughfare. It's an added problem when the front yard faces north and receives a lot of sunshine. The house can't open up to the sun without compromising privacy and a whole lot of sunny outdoor space goes to waste. This is a common problem for many large suburban sites in Australia.
Fairfield Hacienda finally offers a solution -- a front yard that can actually be used for entertaining and relaxation. MRTN Architects have created a sunny, private courtyard at the front of the house.
A Sunny, Private Courtyard: Unlike traditional Australian homes, the entertaining is done in the front yard of this home. Thanks to this "room without a roof" at the front of the property, large windows can let natural light into the living areas.
Following Suit: The peaks and toughs of Fairfield Hacienda's roofline reflect the hips and gables of other homes in the established street. The courtyard only extends as far as other homes -- this is no compound. While there is still a front yard in the traditional sense, openings create a connection without sacrificing the privacy of living areas. Over time, creepers and trees will soften the concrete walls of the courtyard, creating a vertical garden.
Layer of Privacy: The courtyard provides one extra layer of privacy for the home.
Sunny and Light: Thanks to large windows facing the courtyard and wrap-around clerestory windows, the living area is light and bright. Exposed concrete floors and concrete block walls take advantage of the sunny aspect by soaking up warmth to keep the home's temperature stable.
Sailing Roofline: The concrete blocks from the courtyard continue into the home. The only difference is the texture. While outside they are rough and textured, inside the concrete is smooth and honed to reveal it stone aggregate. Using the same material inside and out creates the sense of one continuous space. Large clerestory windows give the sense that the roof is floating above the space and ensure the home is sunny and light.
Warming Timber: The rich timber ceiling and furniture ensure the concrete floor and walls don't feel cold and sterile.
Open Plan: The kitchen, living and dining areas all open onto the courtyard. This creates the sense of one large, continuous space and ensures the home feels open and spacious.
Private Areas: The home's more private areas wrap around a second, internal courtyard. This second courtyard provides sunlight and ventilation to the rear of the home, acting as a lung for the whole house.
Private Areas: Sun shines in from the internal courtyard into the study.
"And yet, of all the wonderful and carefully considered materials that make up this home, one element could not be bought and affixed prior to moving in. It is, quite simply, time. As the Fairfield Hacienda and its occupants settle into the street, creepers and greenery will gradually claim the courtyard walls. A canopy will grow into a dappled roof and in the central garden, plants will provide convenient screening for the children from the parents." -- MRTN Architects
Flipping a Home
By simply flipping the outdoor and entertainment spaces, MRTN Architects have created a sunny home and defined a use for the front yard. No longer a no-man's-land, this front yard is now for entertaining and relaxing. And I bet it's the envy of the street.