Architect Peter Besley challenges the way houses have been designed for Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate with Couldrey House.
Weighted to its site, Couldrey House takes a less traditional approach to the tropical Australian vernacular and proposes a home that instead takes reference directly from its site. Rejecting the lightweight and elevated popular traditional Queenslander typology, the resulting home stands solidly on its footings. Located in the foothills of Mount Coot-tha on a ridge created by granite movement in the Triassic period, a restrained masonry mass emerges from the site. Taking influence from architecture that has prevailed in areas of similar climatic conditions, Peter Besley and Assemblage utilise proven thermal control techniques to propose a passively and appropriately comfortable home.
The west-facing street entry elevation with the stone steps and absence of windows, makes the house look a lot like a ziggurat. Backed by insulation, though, this masonry façade’s primary function is to protect the house from the sun.
Behind the front door, a generous set of stairs, with a skylight over the landing on the upper floor, leads you to the living areas. The stairs are wide enough to facilitate more than their usual utilitarian activity, and are often used by the children for sitting and gathering. The living areas are placed upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs: an ‘upside-down’ house. The atypical organisation of spaces creates a delightful connection with nature and the sensation of being within the canopy of the trees.