Canoe Reach Residence
This family residence is sited on a panoramic bend of the Brisbane River, engaging the hill upon which it sits to form a private retreat for the occupants and their guests. Entering from the street past the tennis court, the riverfront residence appears as a single-storey loggia. From the entry court, a mounded earth embankment deliberately obscures the river and house form. As the entry gate is approached, a cantilevered awning draws the visitor through the embankment; the space compresses in height, width and depth through perspective manipulation. This sets up the unexpected arrival sequence into the central courtyard, which expands to a two-storey space with an overhead parasol roof. Ascending the stairs, a sequenced view unfolds: the parklands beyond, then the Brisbane River below and finally the house, which reveals itself as a contemporary courtyard residence. The courtyard, the central focus of the house, embraces the notion of an outdoor room for family living. The U-shaped plan surrounding the courtyard focuses attention towards the river. Living spaces, including the kitchen, lounge and library feed off the courtyard level, as does the steel-and-glass living pavilion that reaches across the pool and cantilevers out to take in breathtaking views up and down the Brisbane River. The main building, which utilises warm, earthy colours, textures and materials, provides a contrast to the pavilion. Bedrooms are organized above the living spaces of the courtyard, cleverly utilising floor levels to maintain a hierarchy of privacy from the court, with views of the river from each room. The pool area and adjoining sheltering pavilion spill out onto a sculptured grass plane that picturesquely cascades down towards the river’s edge and boat pontoon. Pandanus trees and boulders break up the grass plane with privacy from a neighbour provided by bamboo screening at the boundary. A fifty five thousand litre underground rainwater tank captures water from the roof and grounds for the garden reticulation system. The residence features natural cross-ventilation throughout with the use of single-depth rooms. The parasol courtyard roof opens on three sides to expel hot air, and ventilation slots at the back of the central courtyard ventilate the garage below. The single-pane glazing of the pavilion is tinted and treated to the equivalent of double-insulated glass, and retractable external blinds protect the west-facing façades. The result is a residence that employs architectural detail to define spaces and engages the senses, enhancing the occupants’ joy of living.


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