Bringing Greenery Indoors

Text by Breathe Architecture

Taking cues from its surrounding architectural context, Bardolph Gardens consists of two single storey dwellings that provide environmentally sustainable, affordable, and well designed rental housing in Glen Iris.

Being rental properties, finishes needed to be low maintenance and durable. A pared back, humble and robust material palette consisting of locally sourced recycled brickwork, polished concrete floors, white plasterboard walls, white and timber veneer joinery, recycled timber benchtops and terrazzo tiles, serve a purpose to ensure longevity of the dwellings.

Every room has a connection to the outdoors. In the kitchen and living areas, large north facing glazing opens up to a generous outdoor deck, providing connection to the outdoors. Embedded throughout the plans, a series of hit-and-miss brick screens create privacy for smaller courtyards and draw in air and dappled light to spaces beyond. Bedrooms open out onto these private, lush courtyards whilst bathrooms have visual connection to greenery.

At Breathe, we always prioritise ethics over aesthetics. We think very carefully about each material we specify and Bardolph Gardens is no exception.

The project is designed with a priority towards sustainability with each dwelling achieving a minimum of 8 stars. With passive design in mind, the design incorporates plenty of thermal mass, prioritising winter solar hear gains, sun shading and cross ventilation. Rainwater is collected and stored on site and plumbed back into toilets and garden taps for re-use.

Dwellings are carefully designed to maximise thermal performance through its building envelope, thermally broken double glazing and orientation. Both dwellings operate entirely from a zero fossil fuel services system, including a solar PV array and heat pump system that supplies hot water.

Celebrating the prominence of brick materiality in the surrounding context, the recycled brick facade adds value to the streetscape with a simple, contemporary aesthetic. The form and pitch of the roof planes responds to those of its neighbouring houses, homogenising the proposed forms with the neighbourhood character.

Dwellings are entered through either a protected courtyard or landscaped garden. Interiors are generous, light filled, warm and spacious with each room having an outlook to greenery. A considered roof pitch and external steel awnings work to maximise northern solar gain during winter and minimise it during summer. Internally, a vaulted, pitched ceiling adds volume and draws in light and warmth to the living areas.

Photos by Tom Ross