A&M Houses by Marston Architects

Designed in 2015 by Marston Architects, this contemporary single family house is located in Sydney, Australia.

Description by Marston Architects

Conceptually, the A&M Houses have been an experiment in drawing a relationship and balance between a reduced footprint, comfortable living and maximised amenity.

The undulation of the roof line and the north facing skylights open up the narrow volumes to the sky above promoting the feeling of abundance of space. The detailing of large openings and the continuation of the limestone flooring into the courtyard spaces aims to create generous and seamless connections to the outdoors, visually expanding the constricted floor-plate. Zinc cladding and waxed stucco walls contribute to the material palette and respond to the client’s ‘no-maintenance’ brief and the site’s close proxiity to the beach as no painting is required – ever!.

Inhabitants of the A&M houses are encouraged to modify and adapt spaces to facilitate maximum amenity in both an environmental and social sense. The use of sliding wall panels in the form of timber screens, frosted glass and linen curtains eliminate the need for fixed swing doors and allows each space to open up or close off according to visual and acoustic privacy needs.

Central to the material selection was the requirement to eliminate future maintenance. Anodised aluminium windows and internally waxed walls have a higher initial cost to install, however will be a more cost effective outcome in the longer term. Sustainability is at the core of the project. A smaller footprint not only generally requires less energy in the manufacture of the components but also the running costs of the building. The house is not air-conditioned and the tiled floors are conditioned with hydronic heating. All windows are double glazed and have external electrically controlled blinds to allow the user to control comfort.

Half the size of a typical new house, the A&M houses aim to provide a modest floor plate without compromising liveability.

Photography by Katherine Lu

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- by Matt Watts