Firmness

Any space or building needs to be constructed well so that it may stand up to the elements and endure

Commodity

The building should fulfil the miriad of requirements of a modern family while be flexible enough to adapt to evolving lifestyles

Delight

Great buildings and spaces should be enlivening, be lovely to be in and responsive to their environment

1st century Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio identified these three elements as necessary for any well designed building and we believe this still applies today.

Why is the home important?

For many of us our home is the space that expresses who we are and what matters deeply to us in our everyday lives. First we inhabit our home and then find later it inhabits us as experiences and memories and a sense of place are created.

Of course there are numerous pragmatic requirements that make up the family home but this is not all, there are the intangible aspects of a home that impact on everyday life, how we feel and function in the space. We believe these are some of the fundamental considerations to be considered in any design.

Family enjoying the kitchen environment and view of the backyard sketch
Front view of a house with people seated sketch

Yes, the house needs to capture daylight in a way that addresses the basic need for warmth and light but this should be addressed in a way that recognises the beauty in the way shadows fall and move across and through a building during the day.

Yes, the children need to be safe and supervised but a home should also encourage a sense of play and adventure.

Yes, the rain needs to be kept out but we have all experienced the enjoyment of watching the rain come down, dripping from the eaves before pooling at a threshold and disappearing forever, grateful for our protected nook. Shelter is more than just a roof and some windows.

Yes, a busy home needs a series of spaces that are open, flexible and connected allowing for the supervision of children while cooking dinner. That needs to be tempered with privacy, intimacy and shared spaces. Without this there is no sense of place – there is just space.

The front door is not just an entry to the house it provides an important sense of arrival, of protection, drama and expectation. These transition spaces are important as are thresholds and moving from a public space to a private one.

Yes, we need enough space to store all our stuff. More importantly though we need the space we do have to work efficiently for us. Quality and amenity of space over amount of space will always be more valuable.

Durability in a family home is important. This does not negate delicacy, beauty or delight.

Any home has a unique set of environmental circumstances. The best spaces are those that are sensitive to these and address them as part of a coherent whole.

More now than ever a home needs to be flexible. If the kids are going to be around for a lot longer those requirements should be considered now.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly while satisfying the pragmatic requirements of daily life the home needs to satisfy that all important desire for beauty, pleasure and belonging.

Its often about how small, smart changes can make a big impact.” – ‘New Suburban’ by Stuart Harrison

Person seated with a window view of the backyard sketch