Beverley Garlick Architects
We are a small practice of 3 people in the inner west but with work throughout the state. We try to make our buildings sustainable both environmentally and socially. We mostly do individual or dwellings, small multi-unit dwelling developments, local government projects and also specialize in projects for people who are disabled in various ways. We have also designed quite a few houses built in bushfire prone areas both in Sydney itself as well as in rural areas.
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The ‘very narrow’ house
This is an alternation and addition for an existing 3.5 metre wide semi-detached house with the front room all that remains of the existing dwelling. The block runs in an east-west direction so the challenge was to get as much sun as possible into the house somehow or other as well as natural ventilation. We did this in two main ways. One was to have north racing highlight windows on the top level and the other by having a two-storey light well on the northern side of the block. Both bathrooms as well as the laundry were ventilated and got natural light from this and the stair gets sun throughout the year. To increase the feeling of space, white glass doors as well as polished surfaces were used throughout giving some unexpected reflective surfaces. One can almost forget that it is only 3.5 metres wide.
This is a small and very economical renovation for a Japanese man who is very disabled and depends on a carer most of the time. We renovated the ground floor level of a tiny two storey terrace making it accessible for wheel chair use. Just as important was the need to have an outlook to the sky and the garden and to feel part of the outside world. The windows of various sizes have been located at different heights and locations to give a variety to the views of the outside world. On the other hand we wanted the ‘accessible apparatus’ to be visually recessive.
This is a house built for high level fire resistance on the assumption that if there were to be a fire it was unlikely that a fire engine would ever have access. When ‘closed up’ no windows or doors are exposed with sliding metal shutters covering all openings. The house module is based on a tatami mat principle with the module being a 2.4 x 1.2 plywood sheet with all floors and wall linings of these dimensions and plywood. Being so inaccessible the house was partly pre-fabricated and brought in by 4-wheel drive and bolted together.