Brisbane's West End is an historical and built up neighbourhood. So to find an undeveloped site in the area was like hitting the jackpot. It also meant Kirk Architects had the challenge of designing a modern home, on a tight site that felt at home in this historic neighbourhood. With copious amounts of timber inside and out, this modern interpretation of a workers cottage feels natural, warm and welcoming. And it fits in with its neighbours!
Located on a tight site in a developed suburb, this home maximises light and ventilation (important in Brisbane's sometimes stuffy climate). While the home offers a modern face to the street, its timber screens are a reference to the surrounding timber workers cottages.
You actually enter into the lounge area, the front yard becoming a courtyard for the home. The front door is a huge sliding glass door which opens up to make the two spaces become one. A timber screen fence makes this courtyard feel open and breezy, put still provides sufficient privacy.
Inside the plan is inspired by contemporary apartment designs - meaning built in storage which also conceal lighting and services, an open plan defined by cabinetry and volume changes and not an millimetre of space wasted.
Exposed rafters made from recycled timbers, a unique joining detail and clear finish plywood throughout hark back to the simplicity and carpentry in many workers cottages. If you look closely at the plywood on the ceiling, you'll notice tiny holes. These are designed to improve the acoustics in the home, absorbing and baffling the sound. This is an issue that is commonly overlooked, but it will make for a more comfortable home to live in.
A clerestory window above the kitchen lets beautiful natural light in which seems to take on a golden glow as it washes over the plywood. With the addition of louvres, the clerestory creates effective cross-flow ventilation to keep the home cool. The bonus? A great view of treetops and the sky, making the home feel larger.
Upstairs the timber screens let in light and air to the home, but also help to maintain privacy to the bedroom. Openable doors transform the bedroom into a balcony. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be to sleep outdoors every night?
West End House attempts to re-invent the local style of housing, bringing it into the 21st Century, without forgetting its roots. The fact that the home feels so harmonious with its historical surroundings is a huge success for Neil Architecture and a compliment to the firm's attention to detail and sensitivity to the neighbourhood. And this new wave of Queensland homes is one we want to catch!