Samurai Duplex is a project designed by SG2 design in 2017, covers an area of 592 m2 and is located in Melbourne, Australia. Photography by Michael Gazzola.
Two duplex townhouses were proposed to replace an existing weatherboard house in a quiet, leafy suburban environment. The units were designed to maximise floor area while respecting the surrounding neighbourhood context.
The owner’s appreciation for Japanese culture and architecture were strong drivers for the design aesthetic.
Large skillion roofs with vast overhangs help to express forms and provide shelter from the natural elements. Chain downpipes create a point of interest upon arrival and also heighten one’s aural and sensory experience during rainy days. Glass skylights are scattered throughout bathroom and living areas, to ensure an abundance of natural light in all rooms and create a strong connection with the outdoors. Skylights located over bathtubs allow one to relax and ponder while gazing out at the clouds above.
Traditional samurai armour provided inspiration for the design aesthetic of the materials palette, which was kept simple and consists of layers of more refined finishes such as rhinezinc, terracotta and timber cladding to highlight building forms. ‘Terreal’ cladding acts as a breathable wall to increase thermal performance.
High-level clerestory windows with operable louvres allow for cross-flow ventilation and create a ‘venturi effect’ to extract heat in summer. Green roofs were originally proposed for the first roof areas to increase thermal insulation and rainwater retention, while also creating secondary “backyards” for upper living areas. Solar hot water and hydronic heating also help improve the energy efficiency.