Neeson Murcutt Architects

Hole in the Roof House

2018 Houses Awards – House Alternation and Addition under 200m2 Winner

The project is an alteration to a bland suburban bungalow on a noisy road in a surprisingly remarkable location. By cutting a hole in the roof, ‘replacing’ the removed floor area on the noisy side, and craning in a mature frangipani tree, this house has been transformed into a domestic sanctuary.

The courtyard is unexpected and truly lifeful, it is the reception space that one enters into from the street, a dining room, an outdoor bathroom, a handball court, a movie theatre. The house has a ‘cardinal’ relationship to its context with the dining table at its azimuth – views are framed to the pocket park to the north, the ocean (over garden) to the east, the suburban gully (through garden) to the south, and the courtyard to the west.

The rich spatial experience of the house belies its relatively modest size. This is achieved through a layering of the plan (3 rooms wide in each direction), diversity of rooms scale (generous and tiny), diversity of room type (including indeterminate spaces, anterooms and enclosed verandah), careful editing of the road and nearby apartment block, and the curation of light.