The first time I saw pictures of this house I couldn’t understand it, and I’m not sure I understand it today. I couldn’t tell if the pictures were taken inside the home looking out, outside looking in, inside looking up, or looking down from above. But I like it; it’s edgy and cool and different, so, that’s why it’s here.
It’s a narrow house in Paddington, Australia, and called a Left-Over-Space House because it’s been built, or created, on a myriad of ‘left-over’ spaces in inner cities, such as disused easements or parking lots.
The Left-Over-Space House was adapted from a 3 meter wide tiny caretaker’s cottage, adjoining a Heritage Hall and recycled and linearly extended into a family house for parents and two children.
In the three meter wide frontage to the old cottage is a new study with portals and window boxes open to the street. Then the house opens up slightly behind the cottage to an open, roofed and screened staircase atrium that forms the primary social space. A small bridge is a library connecting it to kitchen and living room, and beyond that to stacked bedrooms and a stairway to a roof deck.
Privacy from the neighbors is gained by a series of iron screens whose perforations for light mimic the patterns of peeling paint on weathered boards; the screens slide or swing out to engage the neighbors when desired and to allow sunlight into the spaces, or keep the sun out.
The atrium belies the narrowness of the site, with the stairs also used as seating treads, and the space manages the climate of the subtropics with layers of perforated iron screens which alternatively project and open up to the external conditions. The mobile screens are intrinsic to an approach to private house design that facilitates sanctuary and engagement of the community as desired.
Like I said, inside-out, upside-down. Recycled and cool.