On a grassy plot in the sunny streets of Canada Bay, Australia, architectural and design teams from CplusC Architectural Workshop have recently completed a beautifully and naturally lit home project called Sliding Doors.
The actual Sliding Doors portion of the home itself is really an addition to a gorgeous pre-existing bungalow. The intention of the addition was to create some extra functional and diverse space where the young family dwelling in the home might seek out and bond in more beneficial natural sunlight than the home had to offer originally.
The family initially approached the design team with a request to help them expand their home in a way that was productive and might help them accommodate their every growing and changing needs. Abundant outdoor space at the rear of the property provided the perfect opportunity to build a new and innovative space that’s completely custom to the family.
Designers opted to use the new living space as a unique sort of transition spot between the original home’s interior and the lovely rear yard. This way, the parents could be afforded another place with plenty of sunshine and fresh air, but one that’s easier to keep an eye on small children within, unlike the much wider full garden.
The addition was built with duality in mind; once the children have gone inside for the day, or while they’re enjoying the bigger yard we mentioned, the addition can easily be turned into a place where adults might socialize and entertain company but keep track of their kids either inside watching TV or outside running through the flowers with friends. Flexibility was key.
That theme of flexibility encompasses the doors between the home’s interior and the new transition space as well; the expansion actually got its name from the pair of large sliding doors that rest between the living room and the new fresh air filled haven. These can be closed for privacy, quiet, and protection against weather or opened full and collapsed into the walls in order to merge the living room almost entirely with the green beauty of the addition. This capability makes both spots feel more dynamic.
The adaptable nature of the doors doesn’t stop at just their ability to be full opened or closed, depending on the time of year and the family’s needs. They can also be left partially closed or open to control the kind and amount of natural light and air that filters between the two spaces, and when. This is thanks to the materiality of the doors, which are made from a mixture of opaque, clear, and frosted glass.
While this unique materiality might sound very decorative (which it undoubtedly is), we’re interested in the fact that it actually has a very practical use as well. By being able to increase or decrease how much light and air travels between indoor and outdoor spaces in the home, the family is given an eco-friendly way to more passively heat, cool, and light certain rooms in the house, easing the structure’s green impact.
Speaking of green initiatives, it was also an explicit priority of the family to teach their children, from a very young age, about food production and gardening, which is something both parents are passionate about. That’s why designers helped them conceptualize and build a beautiful, well stocked, and space efficient vertical herb garden along one wall of the new external courtyard. It’s decorative, agriculturally smart, good for learning, conveniently placed for use in food preparation, and a chance to boost the children’s sense of contribution to the home through how easy the herbs and their garden system are to cultivate.
Like the adaptability of the sliding doors, the vertical shape and placement of the herb garden is an example of how designers aimed to very simply improve the naturally based visuals of the home in simple, subtle ways. From the kitchen, you see, glimpses of the green herbs flourishing in the sun all up and down the wall can be seen in the mirrored backsplash of the kitchen.
Of course, this whole emphasis on green space and natural home elements can be found in the basic materiality throughout the whole kitchen, rather than just in the namesake doors. This creates a sense of grounded cohesiveness. The materials that compose the addition were locally sourced things like reclaimed timber, recycled brick, repurposed glass, and natural concrete.
The way the materiality of the addition suits not only the house itself but also the natural environment around the plot creates a sense of communication in the outdoor space that makes the new space see, very generous in size, even though it’s not actually an atypical square footage for an average bungalow. At the same time, the use of timber and neutral tones keeps the expansion feeling warm and welcoming.
Photos by Michael Lassman Photography