Keperra House by A-CH (Atelier Chen Hung)
Small Project Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
This one-person house is a useful model for super-small-scale suburban living as well as a beautifully finetuned response to a specific place. It recalls caravans and shearing sheds in its robust material palette, parsimonious planning and humility.
Keperra House contains the suburban garden experience for the main house and creates a framed view of the landscape beyond through its central covered courtyard. It forms an active edge to the linear park along the river. Its cantilevered, tapered edge exaggerates the smallness of the pavilion viewed from the public realm, intensifying its reading as a thickened garden wall.
Apertures are carefully considered to create rich experiences in the diminutive spaces. The large, full-height opening in the triangular end of the living room extends the space into the landscape. The house has operable walls and screens, allowing it to fully shut down into a bunker-like prism. It is a low-maintenance option for its temporary inhabitants.
The material language of the house is direct. Robust materials are used in their raw state. Off-form concrete and galvanized sheet metal on a lightweight frame create an effective combination of ground-coupled thermal mass and elevated insulated skin, as well as a zero-maintenance external expression. Detail is experimental yet economic – an oversized folded galvanized gutter doubles as the solar control device over large windows. The interiors are a play in plywood lining and joinery.
This project provides a model for suburban density that retains the sense of house-in-garden by treating the secondary dwelling as a swollen, programmed fence. It addresses the increasing number of single-person families, older children staying at home, the desire to age in place and the need for increased density in our suburbs.
Read the project review by Aaron Peters for Houses.