Downsizing for retirement? If you're designing a new home, how can the design support a healthy and happy lifestyle in your golden years? Archier spent seven years chatting with a friend about this and the conversation shifted from a renovation to a new home and, ultimately, their client started talking about the garden - that's where she wanted to retire.
Archier designed a home that not only opens onto a garden but embraces it. Five Yards House opens onto four courtyards and the fifth name-sake yard via full-height double-glazed doors. The windows and doors are recessed into the floor and ceiling, enhancing the sense that the home is part of the garden. Each major space has its own courtyard and draws its identity from the aesthetic and composition of this outdoor space.
A spine of joinery splits the home down the middle, separating public and private zones. This central spine also conceals the electrical services and a box gutter, hidden away in the bulkhead. Downpipes hidden in the joinery also surreptitiously direct rainwater to water tanks.
The design uses a high-performance Structurally Insulated Panel System (SIPS). 'After extensive research,' Archier explain, they 'proposed SIPS as it is a highly efficient product that provides structural, insulative and aesthetic solutions in one.' SIPS are a sandwich of insulative material like polystyrene between layers of oriented strand board (OSB) for stability. The panels were 3D modelled, then manufactured in Canada. The system minimises waste onsite and the panels are so light, they can be rapidly installed by hand. The texture of the panels' OSB skin is left exposed in select places internally, simply painted with matt black paint. This is complemented with recycled Tasmanian Oak panelling elsewhere internally. The windows and doors are powder coated with Interpon D1000 Sable Bass which looks more like raw steel than the typical plastic-like powder coat systems, another low-key texture which helps the home feel raw and authentic.
Combined with the double-glazed windows and doors and a northern orientation, Five Yards House provides incredible insulation levels and remains comfortable year-round, even in Hobart's often chilly climate. This is even without the need of the log fire - a [Nectre Bakers Oven]() - which is also used for cooking. In warmer months, the access to courtyards creates plenty of cross-flow ventilation to keep the home cool without the need for air-conditioning.
By focussing on a connection to the outdoors, thermal comfort and simple, robust materials, Archier have created a comfortable and low-maintenance home which is a pleasure to live in - the perfect place to retire, surrounded by (and part of) the garden.