Surrounded by two and three storey townhouses, the time is finally up for the little 100 year old timber villa occupying 300m2 of land in Richmond. It had undoubtedly served its numerous occupants well over its lifetime but as it offered little more shelter than that of a decent tent, the site needed renewal.
Hemmed in by a solid three storey red brick wall along the entire north boundary and three two storey townhouse walls interrupted by central courtyards to the south and west; negotiating a design solution that respected the southerly courtyards while providing vistas and light into the new residences became the design challenge. With a brief aimed at maximising the financial return from the property, a number of possible design solutions and feasibilities were explored. Ultimately, it was agreed to pursue a two townhouse proposal encompassing a front and rear relationship rather than the more usual side by side terrace style.
With a narrow frontage of a little under 11.0m currently not offering any vehicle access, the proposal provides a single entry driveway on the south side of the property, and accesses four parking bays centrally located on the site. The ground level of the front townhouse comprises of a dual access entry and stairway and a single multi-purpose living space. Between this space and the carport a small garden bed forms the bottom of a planted light shaft which becomes the central axis for the front house. The rear townhouse has its main entry and stair to the upper levels behind which sits two bedrooms, a multipurpose space with access to an external courtyard facing north and associated service areas.
The main living areas of both houses sit on the first floor. In each case there is a kitchen dining space with an attached sitting area and a separate “snug” or living/TV room with a built in fireplace. In the front house this floor also contains the main bedroom with associated bathroom and WIR. Terraces are located off the living spaces and while the rear house maximises a northerly aspect the front house creates vistas through the centrally located light shaft.
Each townhouse has a third level offering additional bedroom accommodation and in the case of the front townhouse a roof terrace.
The external aesthetic is intended to be monochromatic and is wrapped in perforated aluminium that functionally acts as an overlooking device, whilst also providing a soft dappled light within the homes. Internally a minimal pallet of materials utilising timber and grey hues will provide warmth while views into the light courts and vertical greenery will provide a blast of colour.