JB House


This extension to a single storey, brick veneer home in Brisbane’s east is an example of a new wave of alterations and additions projects in the city’s suburbs. The project explored the consolidation and re-utilisation of the existing house. A carport was proposed for the front yard, liberating the garage which had consumed a large proportion of the existing floor plan. The kitchen, dining and living sit within the footprint of the old garage and minimise the amount of new floor area.  Large openings to the north invigorate the internal spaces making the new living zone the heart of the home which acts as a conduit to connect family and the back yard to home and home to street. A terrace stretches its way from this new living space in to the backyard providing a generous outdoor space. The carport acts as a secondary outdoor space that connects the living space to the street. The conventional construction and material palette of the existing house is celebrated in the addition. The new works are left unfinished and use materials such as concrete, brick, gang nail trusses and plywood, which contrast to the existing elements of the house which are painted white. This simple approach reveals points of intersection between new and old and use ordinary materials to create extraordinary spaces.


JB House addresses the concept of sustainability in a number of ways that are not after thoughts but integral to the design of the project. The overall concept revolved around the re-purposing of as much of the existing building fabric as possible, simultaneously minimising requirements for new work and materials and the associated embodied energy and reducing the waste associated with demolition.

Where possible, materials were salvaged for re-use including the existing roof tiles and slabs. In the instances where new materials were required, sustainable choices were given precedent, such as the use of low embodied energy items like plywood. Low VOC paints and coatings, energy efficient lights and water efficient fittings were specified. The house was re-orientated to make the most of passive environmental controls, ensuring minimal energy to maintain comfortable living conditions. Large openings promote cross ventilation and fill the space with natural light. In the cooler months sun is allowed to enter a heat up the thermal mass of the concrete slab within. As a result the new house does not require air-conditioning. Socially, the project better promotes not only the connection of the family to itself, but the family to the landscape and the street.


2020 AIA Queensland Architecture Awards – Commendation – Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

2018 Think Brick Awards – Recognition – Horbury Hunt Residential

2016 AIA Queensland State Architecture Awards – Brisbane – Commendation – Residential Houses – Alterations and Additions Over 200 sq m


“10 years ago I saw one of their designs in a magazine. Some kind of dream to be working with them for our house today.

The design of JB House has given our young, active family a functional yet beautiful space to live in. We have benefitted greatly from the excellent passive solar qualities the design gives us, and appreciate how much more in tune with our outside environment we are because of the glorious use of glass. The ordinary and everyday materials used such as concrete and steel means the house can play easily alongside our busy boys, not to mention creates a modern feel that makes this humble suburban house feel like a special home for us now, and in the future to come”.

Josh and Bec Hemelaar

JB House

Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones