Australian studio Schulberg Demkiw Architects completed Beach Avenue, an eco-friendly and spacious home that makes the most of its small 9-by-12-meter lot size in Melbourne, Australia. Despite Beach Avenue’s boundary-to-boundary building footprint, the architects creatively preserve the clients’ privacy from their neighbors with perforated screens and courtyard buffers without compromising on access to natural light. The contemporary wood-and-concrete dwelling achieved a 6 Green Star rating, the highest score in the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system.
The two-bedroom home is divided into three levels, with the bedrooms located on the top floor inside a pointed volume wrapped in timber and bisected by a small courtyard. The ground floor level comprises an open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen that are separated from an outdoor courtyard by floor-to-ceiling glazing. The basement includes a second courtyard, home theater, and an area that can be converted into a guest bedroom.
A limited yet rich materials palette gives the house its warm and contemporary character. Schulberg Demkiw Architects combined concrete, hoop-pine, Tallowwood, and glass along with clean lines and detailing for a polished finish. “The materials interfaces have been considered, negotiated, and mitred at every junction, allowing the volume to present itself as one integral joinery piece,” write the architects.
In addition to maximizing natural light, the house follows passive design principles to minimize heating and cooling needs. Cross-ventilation brings cooling winds, while efficient insulation, a gas-fired hydronic heating system, and high thermal mass keep the building warm in colder months. The architects sourced either recycled timber or timber grown on sustainable plantations. The house cost approximately AUD $1 million to complete.
Images via Schulberg Demkiw Architects, © Derek Swalwell