Werribee Residence

Year: 1995 - 1996 

Located in a typical subdivision in the outer suburb of Werribee, the rear of the site has the advantage of views over grazing land to the north and east - and ideal aspect to orient the home for solar exposure.

The clients, a family of three adults, have busy lifestyles involving different work recreation and study requirements. With happy memories of a visit to Japan, they sought a home to with the sophistication and character of traditional Japan, but which provided for a relaxed Australian lifestyle.

Judith North and Neville Cowland believe that every design should fit pleasurably and logically with clients’ needs, and meet the dictates of society and budget. Before working drawings commenced, the architects presented 3D views to enable their clients to appreciate the energy efficiency of the design, and the interaction of the building with the sun at different times of the day and year.

The architects’ commitment to environmentally responsible architecture is evident in the overall design of this house and in the palate of materials used in its construction. Materials such as natural stone and plantation-grown timber have minimal negative impact on the environment, few maintenance problems and provide recycling of biodegradable options for the future.

The family find their home completely successful. A careful balance of calming ambience and comfortably proportioned rooms, the house is deceptively spacious, gloriously bright, and easy to heat and cool. Rooms have been orientated for ideal solar exposure, with appropriate shaded, double glazed, fully sealed windows preventing drafts and minimising heat loss.

The lounge, dining kitchen and deck area is a direct result of the family’s requirement for a dual purpose formal/casual living area to enhance times of family interaction, such as meal preparation and Sunday brunch. Shoji screens are used to link or separate these spaces. A Shoji screen opens the spacious, elegant lounge to the kitchen for casual occasions, another links to the dual purpose entry hall for additional entertaining space.

The multipurpose study/library/guest room provides the family with a space for quiet time and converts comfortably into a guest bedroom, with a bed settee and wardrobe detailed at the end of the bookshelves. The unique bathroom layout provides both the ensuite and main bedroom with their own garden aspect. Each zone links by use of a waterproof a shoji screen to a plunge spa bath.

Garden decks add to the lifestyle options and adaptability of various rooms, while circulation between living and bedroom zones has been designed as more than just a utilitarian passage. Embracing a tranquil entry garden, this area stages the seasonally changing moods of a cherry blossom tree. Built within a budget commensurate with standard project home construction, this house exhibits refined detailing and clear structural expression.