Vikki’s Place challenges existing suburban ideals and grapples with the threat of climate change and housing affordability

Located on flood-prone land in Newcastle (Wickham, Australia), Vikki’s Place is a type of architecture that challenges existing suburban ideals and grapples with the threat of climate change and housing affordability. This multi-generational home by Curious Practice focuses on how the clients want to live and occupy space rather than procuring a checklist of rooms.

The first space of the house is the entry courtyard that connects the street, undercroft, and garden to the studio and main dwelling above. As you step in from the street, the room provides a measure of both privacy and openness, creating an outdoor living to the North and screening from the sun to the west. The interior is built on a block-work podium, a provision for Council’s 1.6m high flood level, the challenge of totally extricating the home from the ground plane by such a considerable deviation, perhaps became its greatest opportunity.

The undercroft, not fated as a dank garage and service space acts as an area pivotal to the success of the home. Sheltered by the house above yet open to the garden it provides a generous all-purpose addition to the house’s interior living spaces. Upstairs, a single flat roof envelopes the whole plan. Bathing and sleeping spaces are on the upper level, compressed and intimate. Separated only by timber blinds, the living areas are generous and open. Maneuvering between spaces and levels invokes a sense that one is navigating between levels of terrain rather than moving room to room or outside to inside. This allows the dwelling a level of comfort and flexibility when occupied by any number of people.

An interior of craft and honesty is prioritised over style or glamour. The fine—and at times playful— resolution of the ‘unfinished’ and raw materials allows the inhabitants flexibility and opportunity to express themselves. The materials used are only those which are required, the maker’s mark is celebrated through exposed construction detailing with everything on show.

This approach is reinforced through the design of open joinery, exaggerated plumbing, and custom light shades. Intimately arranged, it is a multigenerational home which does not presume separation between family members. Only the studio residence, located on a balcony overlooking the entry courtyard could be termed a discrete space. It is this elemental, almost primitive construction of space coupled with the raw material treatment which on visiting the house, makes one feel instantly at home.

Design and info © Curious Practice

Images © Katherine Lu

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