When presented with a lengthy corner site with ample street exposure, Australian architecture firm CplusC took a very creative approach to privacy in crafting its spectacular Iron Maiden House in suburban Sydney. The home is made of two volumes split down the middle by a gorge-inspired void complete with water features, creating inward-facing connections with nature that shield the interior from prying eyes.
Built as a home for five, the Iron Maiden House borrows from and reimagines the traditional aesthetics of industrial Australia. This meant using the corrugated iron panels you might find wrapped around outback farmhouses and using it to form the exterior facades, joined at the top to form a gabled roofs like other modern homes in the area. With time, this is expected to take on a certain charm.
"The home was designed to provide the occupants with a sense of time over days, seasons and years," CplusC managing director, Clinton Cole, tells New Atlas. "The corrugated iron cladding was selected as it will age gracefully over the decades, dulling in color and eventually developing rusted edges along the individual sheets to express the unique sheeting arrangement."
While the home's exterior is well shielded from the street, its heart is open and airy, centered around a strip of ponds at the base of a tall, long and narrow void that runs right down its center. Designed to mimic the private, secluded spaces of a natural gorge, this opening is a direct response to the client's desire for a home with a "strong relationship to nature and space to entertain and grow with the family."
"Slender, cathedral-like spaces were formed around this central thoroughfare with ponds running parallel to walkways to link the spaces," explains Cole. "This approach created an introspective proposal; living spaces all face inwards towards the rear entertaining spaces."
Those entertainment spaces include an open plan living and kitchen area that opens up to a barbecue/outdoor dining area, with a secluded fire pit across the pond and outdoor swimming pool to the rear. The upper level is where the four bedrooms are found, along with an elevated outdoor walkway that connects the children's sleeping quarters and overlooks the pool below.
Steel mesh features outside and serves as protection from falls from this walkway, but will also afford the home additional foliage over time and, in keeping with the name of the home, demonstrate the varied functionality of the material.
"The steel Webforge Mesh was incorporated to allow creeping plants to gradually engulf the building, with the flowering of the plants along this external skin providing seasonal nuance," says Cole. "This unconventional use of steel web and mesh was an intentional design choice to showcase the versatility of steel products, shifting the perception of what is possible when well-manufactured building components are expressed architecturally rather than concealed."
The firm says the house was also planned to make the most of solar exposure to promote passive heating and cooling, namely by way of large openings to the north to draw light and warmth into the majority of the home. A stormwater tank also features and provides recycled rainwater to an outdoor shower.
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