Architect Christopher Megowan just unveiled his newly completed Convertible Courtyards House, which functions like an architectural chameleon. Its 12-meter-long roof covers two different courtyards, and it can be retracted to let in sunlight. The project is an extension of an existing house in Melbourne, Australia, and it boasts a series of other state-of-the-art mechanisms that reduce its environmental impact.
The architects created a central courtyard between the weatherboard and the extension, and brought plenty of natural lighting to the open kitchen, dining area and living room. A glazed linkway runs along the central courtyard and connects the new master bedroom and ensuite. A second courtyard is positioned next to a spacious living room and provides access to the garden area on the south side of the plot.
One of the most unique features of the house is a manually operated, 12 meter long retractable roof panel which can cover both courtyards. It regulates the sun and rain and transforms the house into a chameleon that adapts to Melbourne’s fickle weather conditions.
The garden, located on the south, features an elevated aqueduct that brings rainwater cascading from the two roof surfaces into a slimline water tank. The collected rainwater is reused as gray water for sanitary flushing. Rainwater harvesting, together with solar panels, great insulation and regionally sourced timber used for cladding, completes the profile of the cottage as a responsive, sustainable housing solution for areas with variable climate.