A B house . Barwon Heads

MI-JI . photos: © Ben Hosking

A bounded house on a Barwon Heads block, this second home separates interaction across the site in order to exacerbate it when desired. Raised off the ground due to a flooding overlay, the house is broken up into primary elements of varying spatial organization. Set inside a deformed perimeter of columns, each element functions on its own, allowing the family to grow and recede during the ever-changing occupation over the course of a year.

The steel frame that elevates the house forms the bounding box for the assemblage of its parts. Organized into zones of constant and temporary use (long-term, short-term, and transition space), each element is arranged via the rotational play of the corridor that generates complementary opportunities for light and privacy. The front houses a dining room, living room, kitchen, study, and bedroom for the couple. The middle houses laundry and a powder room. The back houses two bedrooms with en-suites and a sitting room for guests.

Evident in the skylights along the west and east walls, obscured northern outlooks allow the occupants to capture morning and evening sun while maintaining privacy from neighboring properties. The rotational play of the corridor, along with screening and window positioning, provides each separate part of the house with a different private viewpoint and a different part of the garden to interact with.

In spite of this separation, continuity of space is established by the individual spatial organizations of each element – the back of the kitchen is the living room, and the top of the living room is the study. The western deck, which sits in the middle of the site for greater midday and afternoon sun, provides an extension of the kitchen. Yet open the front doors, and the space expands all the way through the house and into the street. AB House is a house that may be private but doesn’t have to be.