A Radical Reimagining Of The Suburban Family Home

The Gala House in Orange, New South Wales, by PW Architecture Office is the regional practice’s first ever project and is designed as a case study house for a new style of suburban living.

Rather than secreted private quarters tucked at the front of a footprint opening to an open-plan communal zone at the rear, the rooms are split across three separate pavilions, allowing for maximum integration of light and greenery, plus a focus on craftsmanship and materiality.

Sasha Gattermayr

The eastern pavilion opens to the garden via sliding doors, which are also connected to the outdoor dining terrace. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The eastern pavilion (on the left) and northern pavilion (on the right) connect to the landscaped backyard via glass doors. The windowed gallery allows light to flood into the bedrooms beyond. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The outdoor dining pavilion is a feat of timber and white brickwork. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The exterior facade is clad in ash timbertop and creates a dialogue with the internal timber features. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

Polished concrete floors and warm joinery anchor the space in a familiar material palette, while green accent tiles gesture to the landscape. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

This kitchen, dining and living zone sits in the eastern pavilion and is flanked by the garden on one side and courtyard on the other. The small opening leads to a private lounge and home office space. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The living room houses a suspended fireplace from Aurora in Byron Bay. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The walls are coated in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The brickwork is coated in Dulux Vivid White masonry matt. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The main bedroom suite sits on its own pavilion at the northernmost tip of the house overlooking the backyard and its own private courtyard. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The gallery is lined with cedar-edged windows overlooking the backyard. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

Looking into the main bedroom suite from the backyard. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The main bathroom has an open-air shower! Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The entry to the eastern pavilion is marked by an angular brickwork opening. Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The entrance itself is statuesque! Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The exterior of the house is not typical of a suburban subdivision, but it is calm, serene and mighty! Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

Sasha Gattermayr
10th of November 2021

The Gala House by PW Architecture Office is located on a suburban subdivision in Orange, NSW. The clients were after a space that offered constant calmness and repose, but could cater for their needs as a contemporary family.

‘The project was conceived as a case study house designed and built by PW Architecture Office as a form of mild anarchy in the suburbs,’ says architect, Paddy Williams. ‘It was seen as an opportunity to reimagine the domestic suburban house, pivoting away from the “box on a block” to open up to the landscape and utilise the entire site as an extension of the house.’

Situated on just one floor, the rooms are split across three pavilions. The floor plan bifurcates after the threshold, offering a dining, kitchen, living and office zone to the east and a sequence of bedrooms to the north. This flank of private rooms is connected to the backyard (landscaped by Sala4d Landscapes) via a windowed gallery, which runs the length of the northern pavilion and stops short of the main bedroom.

The main suite sits on its own pavilion at the northernmost tip of the footprint, and separated from the other bedrooms by a small private courtyard.

The eastern wing unfolds to the same backyard via a glass doors and a terrace, meaning the landscape is wrapped on two sides by the house.

‘At no point in the house are you ever confined between two walls without glass opening you up to the natural elements outside,’ Paddy points out. The natural connection was imperative to ensure the house felt fluid, breezy and serene.

In order to achieve the ambitious layout, it was important to ground the house in a natural, warm material palette. Timber is featured heavily throughout to connect interior and exterior spaces, while painted white brickwork creates a subtle textural touchpoint. Green accent tiles complement the natural greenery of the multiple outdoor zones.

Most importantly, this relaxed material combination gives the space a calm ambience – one of the central tenets of the client’s brief.

Paddy describes the house poetically. His vision was to, ‘design a home for a sensory and tactile experience of the everyday. A space created and imagined for its specific context, to provide for an intimate relationship with nature, light and craftsmanship of materiality. Combining intimacy and social space for gathering of family and friends as well as private retreats through incidental spaces and courtyards.’

That he has achieved!

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