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BDAV 2015 Building Design Awards

Convertible Courtyards House

WinnerResidential Design: Alterations & Additions up to $200K

WinnerMost Innovative Small Works Project

Designer: Christopher Megowan Design Pty Ltd Builder: Jodans Building
Photographer: Nils Koenning Location: Prahran, VIC

Construction of new living and dining spaces around an internal courtyard and decking along the east side of the site ensures that north light streams through all areas. Spaces are small but functional, and the provision of strategically located outdoor areas ensures that the addition feels large and airy. Internal and external treatments are economical but creatively handled to fit a small budget, with seemingly random timber battened screening fitted over corrugated steel cladding. Details are innovative and effective, with a charming planter box fitted neatly into a protective galvanised steel projection around the dining area window. The aesthetic is pleasingly agricultural, and is carried through to the retractable roof that moves over the living area from the north courtyard deck to the southern deck to provide shelter as required. The roof, which is manually operated through a complex arrangement of pulley, rails and counterweights is designed as an integral part of the house, with timber battened screening over transparent roofing and exposed galvanised steel framing. The architectural exclamation mark is the galvanised steel aqueduct which collects rainwater from the mobile roof while forming an elegant water feature against the neighbouring boundary wall. This project is outstanding for the designer's innovative approach to the inherent problems of a small site with poor solar access, and is proof yet again that excellent amenity can be provided with a small house and a correspondingly small budget.