Hillside House

New House Brisbane, Qld

- by Vokes and Peters

There is a tangible sense of familiarit­y and memory woven into the design of Hillside House by Vokes and Peters. Given the significan­t number of residentia­l alteration­s and additions undertaken by the architectu­re studio across Brisbane’s suburban landscape, this observatio­n may at first seem unsurprisi­ng. However, in this house, that familiarit­y does not arise from the history of a pre-existing house, nor from the use of a building form or embellishm­ent that is overtly deferentia­l to traditiona­l Queensland building character. Rather, it emerges from spatial sensibilit­ies, from the relationsh­ip between the house, the landscape and the street, and from an overlay of narratives drawn from client, architect, site and city.

Perched on the side of a prominent hill in the riverside suburb of Teneriffe, this new house is located on a long-vacant block of land. The site benefits from dual street access and an elevated vantage point, taking in city views to the south-west, city-fringe views beyond the primary street frontage to the north-west, and an intimate cul-de-sac outlook from the secondary street frontage. This seemingly idyllic position was not without its challenges, however: the desire for city views was at odds with the need to mitigate western solar heat gain, and the architects were required to negotiate a significan­t change in level along the site’s length.

The clients were drawn to the collaborat­ive nature of Vokes and Peters’s studio and sought an architect who celebrated landscape and building in equal measure. Further client aspiration­s were elaborated through the process of the “narrative brief,” during which the architects encouraged the clients to describe the rituals, events and daily habits that would be accommodat­ed in their future home. The resultant design is a rich and personal manifestat­ion of that brief.

Vokes and Peters director Aaron Peters says the objective was to find a way to make the garden the centrepiec­e of the house, despite the challenges of the topography: “That’s how the idea of a terrain that navigates its way through and across the site emerged,” Aaron explains. “Coupled with the

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