Idris House sits on a busy crossroad between Fendalton Road and Idris Road, Christchurch.
Given such location, key drivers have been quickly identified to be noise control and providing privacy, for both the interior and the outdoor spaces. That requirement should be provided by a design that at the same time would still maximise the solar gain and the outdoor connection, providing and promoting a high quality outdoor lifestyle.
The project had to fit in a quite compact site, maintaining the existing bean-shaped pool, while allowing for a proper fenced pool area as well.
The design response is that of a secret garden. A closed patio expressed by a dualistic relationship between the outside and the inside. From the street, the building provides a sense of boundary and visual barrier through the dialog between the brick fence wall and the house itself; conversely, experienced from the inside, the large glass openings create a perception of the internal spaces as part of the larger patio extending to the inside.
The hovering upper floor over the visually permeable façade of the dining, associated with its perception of weight provided by the brick cladding, create such a contrast that emphasise the openness of the ground floor, which now feels totally part of and embedded into the patio.
Following the main concept of a secret garden, a natural terracotta brick has been selected to better represent the language of the conceptual wall archetype, a timeless solid piece of construction enclosing an thus providing identity to an intimate patio. The earthy natural tones and the intentional chipping of the brick, associated with the designed vegetation and climbers that are going to run on top of them, add a fourth dimension of time associated with it, which aims to provide a sense of timelessness to the overall architecture.
The design outcome is of a dynamic and contrasting dialog between the brick massing and the language of transparency and slim steel lines at the ground floor.
All the design has been informed with sustainability strategies to preserve energy. This includes the energy necessary to build the house – embodied in the materials, the energy necessary to build it – grey energy, and the running heating and cooling costs during the life of the building. Overall the house presents a strategic combination of high mass solid walls and large glazing. The location of these, with the aid of sun shading devices, has been driven by solar studies at solstices and equinoxes. By controlling how the sun interact with the house it gains solar heat during winter, and limits sun ingress in summer in those critical hours that would otherwise overheat the spaces. The brick mass provides a buffer, absorbing energy during the peak times, and releasing it later in the evening when that energy is likely needed.