BY JOHN ELLWAY ARCHITECT
New house Brisbane, Qld
John Ellway’s Three House can be found on one of the beautiful streets that launch off the ridges into the tumbling topography of the inner suburb of Paddington, Brisbane. John met clients Boon and Sarah in early 2017 after a trip to Penang, the small island off the north-west coast of Malaysia where the clients had spent their childhoods and where their parents still live. Boon and Sarah are both excellent cooks and often tempted John with treats inspired by flavours and memories of their time in Penang as they met to discuss the project. The emotional touchstones of their new house quickly became clear: a generous space for the making and shared enjoyment of food, a place for their parents to stay comfortably during long visits and a shared affinity for the breezy lyricism of South-East Asian architecture.
The site extends across the saddle of a small gully, while an exclusion zone for overland stormwater and underground services cuts across it. This set unequivocal lateral and vertical limits on the position of the new house. Anticipating the requirements of the local “character code,” but never being subservient to them, John deployed a series of three square pavilion forms with pyramidal roofs. These steeply pitched forms acknowledge the language