Featuring Danielle Waters
The Court House In Aireys Inlet is a contemporary timber residence in Australia. designed by Peter Winkler Architects. Given the task to build a "modest timber dwelling" that would blend into the environment, Peter Winkler Architects were able to design a simple program held together by a central courtyard. The idea is that the space would not only act as an orienting device but, as an arrival point. Breaking it down, a central courtyard acts as a bridge between the public and private wings of the home. This courtyard works in tandem with the building envelope providing climate responsiveness and adaptability to surrounding conditions. With the primary building material being timber, the desire to meld the residence with the coastal bush landscape is clearly seen.
The site is located in southern Australia, within a reticent court of homes and adjacent to a beautiful walking path stretching to a secluded beach. Completed in March 2017, the project is 219 square meters resting on a total 736 square meters of land. The home is separated into two wings, a single story public wing with the kitchen and social gathering areas and a more private double story wing with the bedrooms, bathrooms and office area. Both of these wings are connected to the central courtyard which must be traversed to moved between each.
The public wing features a half butterfly roof angled up to the East blocking direct sunlight and allowing for the living spaces to be flooded with passive light. On the private wing, the west facade is relatively closed off while the north and south walls are screened with horizontal louvers designed to block out the sun in the summer months while letting it in during the winter. On the west, the facade is equipped with vertical louvers more for privacy than for sun protection. The courtyard itself is roofed with both timber and poly-carbonate for diffuse lighting.
The courtyard and the calculated placement of the doors and windows all work hand in hand to control and manipulate the occasional high winds, the sea breezes and the temperature of the interior. The courtyard to enclosed by gates that can be opened making it so that the sea breezes can flow through the courtyard and push out all the hot air that accumulates between the two wings. When the gates are closed, the space is able to store solar gain effectively warming the two wings on either side. The courtyard is an essential feature for passive power savings and allows the space to respond to the year-round conditions. In addition, the private wing's second story was designed in place to help shadow the courtyard but, still allow light to hit the half butterfly roof of the public wing.
Overall this Australian sourced, recycled timber home was perfectly designed, balancing the seasons with solar design, accomodating the owner's flexable needs and beautifully blending it with its environment.
Today I Present Arckit Model 30, a fantastic new home recreated with Arckit. With such limited information about this home and very few pictures, this finished Arckit model was key in understanding all the thought that was put into the actual project. Danielle and I were forced to look at the online available floor plans to understand the structure and programming of the home. We began the session by converting all of the dimensions to Arckit units. It was fortunate that everything in the home seemed to naturally line up with the Arckit grid at 1:48 Scale.
From here we had a surprising understanding of how big this home actually was. To ensure we had enough pieces for the half butterfly roof, we started with creating the roof first, tiled it and set it aside for later. After creating a more than generous base plate to work on, we proceeded to outline both the public and private sections of the home, erecting walls and partitioning the different rooms. Since the home is built on a concrete pad, we represented this by raising the entire model up one floor plate so that not only the foundation could be visualized but, when we would create the vertical louvers on the west side, they would be able to swing open. Once we could see the general shape of the spaces, we started adding our details, inserting the windows and louvers into their locations indicated on the plan.
Midways through, Danielle noticed that there was a chimney in the plan that was not visible in any of the images we were working from. We pin-pointed its location and slotted out a section in the roof to fit it. Its amazing how much a physical model helps with one's understanding of a building. Being able seem hidden items and also to visualize all the locations where pictures were taken was a rewarding experience. After setting the roof down we noticed that there was a significant amount of sag above the car park merely do to the size and limited support. It also had to do with our construction of the roof, made with east to west spanning members instead of North to South, which would have provided an "against the grain" arckit strength. To straighten out this problem we reinforced the bottom of the roof above the car park with another layer of floor plates. With Arckit, there are a lot of advanced techniques that just have to be learned with practice to yield for stronger structures. There are many intricacies that I take account for when designing spans and making sure that everything stays stable. I hope to expand upon these topics with future models.
Finishing up, all that was left was the courtyard. Anticipating ahead of time, when I constructed the private section of the home, I had extended the floor plates with one unit of overhang to create mounting points. From here, I used the roof truss tiles to span the gap and mimic the pattern created with alernating timber and polycarbonate.
Overall, this was a very exciting project to work on and I enjoyed working with Danielle on creating my 30th published model! This model forced us to really experiment with new uses for Arckit pieces and I will definitely be using some of these new techniques in future models.
Danielle Waters is a full time student at the University of Maryland. She has achieved an AA and is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelors of Architecture. Her career interests are in environmental sustainability, historical preservation and residential design.
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