Surry Hills Terrace House

Context & Design Brief
The site is a fairly standard sized and sited terrace in Surry Hills, with rear lane access. The brief was to create a three bedroom home with two living areas and study, and to economically improve the dwelling for resale. The existing terrace house had been added to a number of times in a cell-like and impractical way, all additions were to be removed and the new house was to commence with the substantial remaining section of the original terrace.

Design Approach
Terrace houses are typically dark and poorly ventilated dwellings. The conventional approach to a terrace addition is to extend directly off the rear of the building, increasing plan depth and often further exacerbating the lack of natural light and ventilation to the centre of the dwelling. An alternate strategy was developed for this house, a courtyard was located adjacent to the existing building, instead of a room. This overcame the shortcomings previously identified and took advantage of the site’s orientation and rear lane access.

Design Outcome
A central courtyard was created and the dwelling stretched along the block towards the rear. This gave more rooms direct access to natural light and ventilation as well as to outdoor spaces. The courtyard & kitchen consequently become more than just utilitarian space, the become a room in their own right, integral to the amenity of the majority of the habitable rooms.

The rooms adjacent to the new courtyard thus directly benefit from this newly created northern oriented living space. The primary living rooms bookend the courtyard, giving them both significant access natural light & ventilation. The more private rooms, bedrooms & study, were then located within the compartmentalised fabric of the original terrace.