Sandringham House / Ellul Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. Sandringham House is a refuge for a young family in the Bayside suburb of Melbourne. The restrained black pavilion is nestled into the landscape under the canopy of a substantial oak tree. A series of courtyards are carved out of the simple form to provide a calming sanctuary within.
• Sandringham House is a single-story family home in the Bayside suburb of Sandringham.
• A substantial oak tree in the front yard compromised the existing 1950s house causing it to fall into a state of disrepair. The existing house was a dark, damp rabbit warren of rooms.
• A thorough interrogation of the brief led to a design that satisfied their spatial requirements whilst being simple in form.
• The design was rationalized to ensure efficiency and work within the limited budget.
• Robust/honest materials were selected to be low maintenance and sustainable, with longevity in mind.
• Rooms were oriented correctly. A series of courtyards and a roof pop-up allowed light/ventilation to penetrate deep into the plan.
• Passive design was promoted through operable shading elements and high-level windows, maximizing cross-flow ventilation.
• A highly private family, the house needed to be their refuge. Batten screens/operable panels allow the house to be shut down from the outside world. Native landscaping within provides a calming outlook.
• The house is deliberately recessive in nature, with the minimal black-clad pavilion nestling into the site, ensuring the oak becomes the focal point.
• The native landscaped front yard spills onto the street, generously giving back to the public realm, whilst providing a buffer to the house beyond.
• It was important that the house was a place of refuge, with screened courtyards providing a layer of protection, whilst also offering opportunities for calming landscaping. Operable panels within the steel shroud can be drawn across the fixed glazing, allowing the house to be shut down to the street.
• The master suite and study face onto the private entrance courtyard, providing a included calming outlook.
• To minimize the footprint, additional briefed rooms (retreat, playroom, guest bedroom) were consolidated into a large flexible room, oriented north and connected to the decked courtyard.
• The bathroom was split into dual rooms to allow multiple users.
• Robes were integrated into the circulation space to maximize bedroom size.
• Screened courtyards provide a calming refuge from the world beyond.
• Living spaces were connected to the garden and courtyards, blurring lines between inside and out, extending the view and sense of space.
• Given the incredibly tight budget, engaging a builder from the start was critical so the design could be priced regularly to manage overruns.
• To ensure total flexibility, we worked within statutory controls so as to not trigger planning which meant we weren’t locked into a set design. This freedom allowed the design to evolve according to price.
• The design worked to standard material sizes and formats. The layout was guided by timber spans to ensure structural simplicity; no structural steel in the house.