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Chenchow Little, Sydney, Australia

Tuesday 28 Feb 2012

Challenging suburban house typologies

Chenchow Little holds the copyright to these images, photographer John Gollings. 
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Award Entry

Chenchow Little challenge traditional default design responses to generate different outcomes in the suburban context 

The recent work of Chenchow Little has focused on housing within a suburban context where, contrary to popular perception, over 75% of the Australian population lives.

The practice aims to challenge traditional suburban housing stereotypes and default responses by using planning codes, structure, detailing, and sustainable design as points of creative departure, rather than as limitations. The Pitched Roof House (2009) exemplifies this approach.

The form of the Pitched Roof House evolved from a strict interpretation of the local planning codes, and sustainable design principles. The local authority's planning codes encourage the use of pitched roofs.  Unlike the traditional pitched roof, the triangles of the roof not only pitch up, but also invert to form a faceted roof plane opening to the northern sun and sheltering both internal and external spaces.  The geometry of the roof is continued onto the façade and the resultant structure is expressed both internally and externally.  The triangulated structure becomes a spatial device for organising the external and internal appearance and functions of the building.  Diamond shaped windows continue along the side and around the corners of the building, resulting in a manipulation of perspectival depth and the flattening of corners.  There is no clear distinction between ornament and structure. Structure is not only deployed for its load bearing capacity, but also to generate spatial effects. A singular rather than an additive approach to architecture has enabled Chenchow Little to generate unified effects and outcomes for each of their projects.

Other projects presented include the Semi-Detached House (2007); the Freshwater House (2008); the Skylight House (2010); and the Bell Romero Houses (2011). Chenchow Little have received many awards for their work including the Australian Institute of Architects National Robin Boyd Award, the highest accolade for residential architecture in Australia. Architecture Record (USA) selected Chenchow Little amongst ten international firms for their Design Vanguard issue 2010. The work of Chenchow Little has been published in the world's leading architecture magazines, including Casabella, Architectural Record, Wallpaper and MARK.

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