Chapel Hill House

Chapel Hill, Brisbane

This project marks a return home to Brisbane for a young family who spent their formative years abroad. The integrity of the existing building and the client’s appreciation for sub-tropical modernism defined the approach. The renovation seeks to revisit the brief for a family home in this climate, 30 years after the original home was conceived, without diminishing the intrinsic qualities of the architecture.

Project details

The scheme emerged from three key considerations: defining a clear parti and entry sequence, modulating the elements, and responding to the geometries and palette of the existing building. Removing a deck addition liberated the central courtyard and revealed the clarity of the building’s u-shaped plan. This also allowed the arrival sequence to be clearly defined, with the visitor’s journey and destination point evident on approach.

The placement of vertical circulation creates a break between the public and private wings of the home and generates a generous spacious void which delivers light into the new reception room at ground level. In addition to providing an informal greeting space for guests this generous new public space activates the courtyard and presents flexible living options for the family.

A timber ‘veil’ was introduced to the building entry to provide privacy and to modulate the elements. Replacing fixed glazing and narrow decks with operable walls, ventable clerestories, and inhabitable ledges allow the building to respond more passively to the weather. Rather than open indiscriminately to the landscape more defined relationships to the garden are created which generate different spatial experiences for each part of the house.

The bold geometries and naturals materials of the existing building directed the physical expression of the renovation.  A new master wing to the south is recessed in elevation and lowered in plan allowing it to slide beneath an extension of the existing roof line. The angled geometries of the new wing read as an extension of the steeply pitched roof of the existing building.


2016 AIA Queensland Architecture Awards – Elina Mottram Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)2016 AIA National Architecture Awards – Shortlist – People’s Choice Award
2016 Houses Awards – Shortlist – Alteration & Additions

Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones