The Bardolph Gardens project emerged when previous Breathe clients approached the architects with an idea to utilise underused open space at the rear of their two California bungalows, to develop sustainable, beautiful and affordable rental housing.
The architects approached the project by first considering how to introduce a new structure that was respectful to the surrounding environment. The architects explain that the two new single storey dwellings celebrate ‘the prominence of brick materiality’ in the local landscape. While remaining faithful to the streetscape through using a recycled brick facade, the lattice-work patterning provides a contemporary spin on the suburban red-brick home. Which feels appropriate for a project that reconsiders ‘the Australian dream’ of the suburban block.
The new apartments are entered through a protected courtyard or landscaped gardens, and open out into generous light-filled interiors. Every room has a view of the surrounding greenery, and an internal vaulted pitched ceiling draws light and warmth into the living areas.
As they were designed to rent out, the interiors have been designed for durability and low maintenance. A subtle and robust palette allows tenants to bring their own flair to their rented home, to mingle artworks, books and objects amidst the locally sourced recycled brickwork, polished concrete floors and terrazzo tiles.
The ‘hit-and-miss’ brick screens provide a strong aesthetic identity for Bardolph Gardens, as well as offering ‘privacy for the smaller courtyards’ and drawing in ‘air and dappled light to spaces beyond.’ The architects cleverly use design elements to enhance the winter solar heat gains, sun shading and cross ventilation. These architectural moves, combined with the on-site rainwater collection, grey water system and zero fossil fuels service system mean the Bardolph Gardens have achieved an 8-star sustainability rating.
The architects describe the joy of working on a project that ‘sets an example for delivering sustainable, well designed rental housing that is affordable, and located near public transport and local amenity – something that you don’t often see in the current rental housing market.’ Hopefully, we’ll be seeing many more clever uses of under-utilised land over the coming years – it sure beats urban sprawl and/or more high-density apartment blocks!