Project: Peakaboo House
Architects: Alcorn Middleton
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photography: Jad Sylla
2020 QLD Architecture Awards COLORBOND© Award for Steel Architecture
The Peakaboo House explores a fresh typology for multigenerational living in a suburban setting and a fresh approach to the use of steel building materials
As it was, the existing house was soundly built, with concrete walls and hardwood floors. Why demolish such a house, well-positioned to best use the expansive block? Why change what has made this house a home; why not add something so that this home sustains the family’s culture and meets their enduring needs?
The pavilion buildings suit two couples of different generations, but of the same family. The original home now only consists of the sleeping quarters and bathrooms for the older couple, and visiting family guests. With the living, dining and kitchen spaces now occupying the first of two new pavilions, the younger couple self-sufficiently reside in their self-contained loft-style studio in the second new pavilion.
This family and its culture thus remain close, despite both couple’s, lives and independent activities, still able to be privately observed within the confines of their own pavilion. Onlooker and passers-by cannot help but sense the Peakaboo House’s individuality and envision the distinctive life and activities within. At first glance, they are intrigued by the façade that offers convenient, but less-than-obvious openings. So is it any wonder that these strangers often feel drawn to approach and talk with those whom live in the house, so they might understand its distinction, and thus satisfy their curiosity.
Densification through communal living arrangements, is a fundamental characteristic to the outcome of this project; sharing land, building structures, amenities, and utilities between couples, where possible. Passive Heating and cooling elements function exceptionally well, in and around, all three pavilions. Pivot doors and windows work well to capture and funnel prevailing breeze. On a hot summers day, being inside has the feeling of residing under a generous shady tree. The remarkable ventilation that can be experienced on the site, lends itself to three strong axes that delineate the ground plane, and continuing through the building fabric, carving out three separate arrivals onto the site (and to/from each pavilion).