Projects: Fairfield House

A beautiful existing Poinciana tree in the back garden & a pair of clients with young children & a tendency towards exhibition – this addition provides a ‘theatre’ for the drama of growing up in mid inner city subtropical Brisbane.

A typical early 20th century queenslander it suffered the usual problems of tacked on additions and uncovered decks that were functionally not very useful & had a poor relation to the outside. The usual option of building in under was considered but the final design choice was to concentrate the ­family’s activities to the north facing back garden & maximise the interaction between living, house, garden & a new pool.

The additions are limited to two new rooms (bedroom & family area) where the generosity of space is not so much in the floor area but in the height of the space & the relationship to outside. There is also a lower height ‘service’ wing on the southern side containing an ensuite, robe & storage (it will also provide a future accesss link to the lower level).

Generally our office pursues ‘lightness’ (literally as well as metaphorically) as one method of establishing a strong ‘identity’ (if a building is light it is light, heavy if heavy). This project continues this exploration – lightweight ‘temporary’ fabric eaves that are lightly attached to the new roof allow the shadows of the Poinciana to be cast during the day & form a lantern at night.

Moments of theatre include the shower that opens to the garden & will (in the final configuration) open to its own small curtained courtyard. Plans for the ‘stage’ to the northeast corner of the block & scenery backdrop are on the board.


Status: completed 2017

Internal: 42m2

External: 41m2


Structural Engineer: Bligh Tanner

Construction Team: Albury Projects

Sheet metal: Studio Steel

Cabinetmaker: Des Shield

Lightweight awnings: Creative Canvas and Blinds

Photography: Shantanu Starick

This addition provides a ‘theatre’ for the drama of growing up in mid inner city subtropical Brisbane.