Sticky Fingers Are No Problems At This Home


Words by Anthony Richardson

What do you do when your client doesn't give you a brief listing rooms, but rather requests such as  "a home where the kids could drag the outside inside and always have sticky fingers"? ZGA Studio responds with Courtyard Deck House, a relaxed but flexible design that adapts to the family over time.


"Peekaboo" | @zoegeyerarchitect

"Basking in winter sunshine at today's site meeting" | @zoegeyerarchitect

"Bear with me... still admiring this newly rendered column" |  @zoegeyerarchitect

"Bear with me... still admiring this newly rendered column" | @zoegeyerarchitect

Usually when we think of a brief to give to an architect, it’s more so a list of room names and the occasional indication of size. An architect can take that list of rooms and design you a good house, however what happens when a client, a family with three young boys, provides an insight into their family and the kind of environment they want to live in? Well you get a project brief which includes “a race-track and native forest in the rear garden, and a home where the kids could drag the outside inside and always have sticky fingers.”

ZGA Studio designed two key zones; the original house which is the quiet zone, and the extension being the more lively zone. What separates these two zones is a courtyard deck, which also provides breathing space, light into the centre of the house and a simple connection to the outdoors. During summer, the large sliding doors extends the living space outside onto the deck. The social spaces are made distinct by hand-painted grey ceilings, changes in levels and sliding doors. The garden at the rear looks to gently infiltrate the edges of the house, designed to be inhabited by the family.

“The clients approached the project with strong sustainability principles, which have been addressed through passive design and insulation” Zoë Geyer, principal architect of ZGA Studio, says. Clever zoning of spaces reduces the need for active heating and cooling, in fact only one air-conditioner was installed, which was in the kitchen. The idea is on the occasional night of extreme heat, the kitchen will become a ‘camp-out’ area for the family. Zoe also notes “Natural light and connection to the outdoors and garden were key criteria that have been achieved.” The end result is you have a beautiful, functional home that can be inhabited in many different ways and can adapt as the children grow up.

The existing house was largely retained, with a linking passage extending from the old house into the garden. The new addition sits at the end of this, forming a sheltered deck space between the old and new.
— ZGA Studio


Project Name _ Courtyard Deck House
Architect _
ZGA Studio |
Location _
Area _ 208m²
Project Completed _ 2017
Photographer _
Tatjana Plitt |
Builder _
Maizac Building and Construction

Published with BowerBird

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