MY HOUSE IDEA: St Peters House II by Kreis Grennan Architecture

The St Peters House II designed by Kreis Grennan Architecture is built at the rear of a narrow lot in the Sydney suburb of St Peters. The client’s backyard provided a new site for his freestanding home. The original dwelling remained, creating additional accommodation and a sensible approach to increased urban residential density. Photography by Douglas Frost

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The ground of the site is clay, the same clay that is the source of the bricks for most buildings in the area. The local brick pit, now a park, provided the materials for much of the neighbourhood. Brick was thus a logical choice in connecting to the site and ground while also addressing the durability and the aesthetic needs of our client. A selection of six bricks were chosen and mixed on site by Mark Jolley and his team.

Rising from the compact base of the building the visually lively mix is celebrated by with a dark grey mortar joint. The solid nature of the front, where the building is shaped like a solid block, is eroded to the garden where the compact footprint is manipulated to work around the beautiful mature trees. Limiting the footprint was essential to preserve the garden and the beautiful existing trees. The volume is modulated to relate to the ground, street context and trees.

On the lower ground floor, a covered hardstand, workshop, laundry and study are located. Above on the upper ground floor is an open plan living platform connected to the street and garden. Under the roof are two bedrooms and bathrooms. One bedroom is a flexible space also for exercising or for guests. In size it’s a humble home made with humble robust materials.

The steel frame and painted bricks are legible and straight forward. Craft and detail are particularly present in the items that are touched such as the custom joinery handles, purpose built solid timber kitchen bench and integrated joinery.

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