Woodland House

This compact, sustainable family home is founded on the Sgourakis family’s own architectural tradition. In the seventies, Peter Sgourakis worked with his own father to construct a family home; now, some forty years later, Peter and his son Henry have subdivided the original block and are about to begin a renovation that will bring new life into the original. At the same, they’ll commence construction on a new house for the next generation of the family.

The new build draws its design cues from the inventive form-making of the original house. A cascading series of cubic elements has been carefully composed to create a rigorously planned family home. Each volume is expressed independently, with an array of external surface treatments accentuating the form. Materiality, from recycled bricks to innovative new sustainable cladding, plays a critical role.

Internally, open-plan spaces step up in sequence with the articulated roofline. A six-metre void encourages air circulation and supports passive climate control, responding to the design principles that shaped the high vaulted ceilings of the original residence. Avoiding overlooking was a challenge of the house’s suburban context; in response, windows have been carefully arranged to frame views of the Dandenongs to the east. In the living room, a steel-framed box window houses a window seat that looks out over a low-maintenance dry-climate garden, at its centre a 40-year-old well-loved olive tree that was once tended by the first generation of the Sgourakis family.