The Szirtes House explores the notions of flexibility and flux in architectural space within a suburban garden context.
The client required a new dwelling to be built behind an existing duplex on a typical Sydney suburban quarter acre block. The site was internally focused with no streetscape or views. As a result, we chose to concentrate on the quality of the spaces, the ability of the spaces to be flexible and the ability of the spaces to accommodate changing moods. The relation of the house to its garden setting was also important, as this context, rather than a ‘view’ forms the essential experience of the site.
The house has been separated into a series of conceptual layers or systems. Firstly, the site is abstracted as a horizontal ground plane, where the perceived boundaries of the house equivocate between the curtains and the boundary hedge planting. Secondly, a series of service cores arranged in a non-hierarchical manner, serve as the organization system, encouraging multiple movements throughout the site. This permitted the Szirtes House to make a subtle departure from the traditional suburban house plan, through a multi-directional unfolding of space rather than a series of rooms linked by corridors. The final layer is the floating bedroom volume and adjacent tree canopy, above the abstracted ground plane.
The strategy spatially resolved the client’s requirements to view the entire site from a single fixed position (the kitchen) for surveillance of their young child; and for spaces that can be transformed from open to compartmentalised to suit gatherings of different sizes. The ‘cinematic promenade’ as a series of frames organised in sequence, is used to represent the play of the visible and invisible and the possible relationships and movements throughout the site.