Spatially the layout needed to be able to adapt to the needs of this family of two adults and three young children changed over time. In time the parents will build over the rear carport to create their separate retreat and handover the main house to the growing brood. The shack characterizes simple, easy flow layouts with seamless integration of leading indoor and outdoor areas to allow natural expansion and enable a multiplicity of uses depending on climate, activity or event.
Secondly, it needed to a have the spirit of a mid-century aesthetic to align with but not mimic the client’s keen love for the infamous Kaufmann House and American Diner styled breakfast booths.
Other drivers included a desire for an opening living area flooded in natural daylight and seamless integration with the central outdoor living area. A central passage acts as a single access spine delineating and connecting private and communal spaces with a smooth transition, and the northern orientation of the main indoor and outdoor living spaces allow them to naturally flood with natural daylight as the day and seasons permit. Due to the sites first solar north orientation and the most extended sides of the lot being the north and south flanks a passive solar design was a natural choice and made efficient use of the site.
The clients adamantly did not want the atypical double garage at the front of the house scenario. A laneway to the side of the house was created therefore to double as landscaping with only the tire runs to be paved to access the double carport at the rear and space for a small boat behind the Store.
As a typical busy family of two full time working adults and all children at school a strong need to commune and connect was felt, so their love of the American Diner styled Breakfast Booth was incorporated to act as a natural hub for the family members at the start of each day. Stories, plans, lunches, and orders for the day could be dispensed in the convenience of a roundtable scenario to stay in touch with each member’s daily events.
Stylistically therefore clean, crisp lines and low pitched roofs were the order of the day. Integrally Mishack’s modular design system already incorporated these elements allowing for a smooth contextual fit. A tip of the hat acknowledgment to the vertical steel screening of the Kaufmann house is given via the vertical steel screening at the front.
Anyone involved in a project contributes, whether that be the client, consultants, builders, subcontractors, suppliers, neighbors, financial institutions, and council. Design decisions can be affected by any one of these parties for a myriad of reasons. I found myself among kindred spirits in this project, in particular, a client and a builder passionate about architecture and a supportive council. The client and builder maintained a clear intention throughout construction to ensure the spirit of the design was retained. They were proactive with alternative solutions and paid impressive attention to detail. An architect can’t ask for any more than that.
mishack has a mandate to create budget conscious architecture, and it achieves this via simple modular layouts and simple construction methods and a ‘middle of the market’ approach to fixtures, fittings, and finishes. The McGunnigle Shack is a large house with extensive external areas undercover and a new entry statement. It encompassed some 415m2 of an overall built space under cover and was completed for a total square meter rate of only $1690.
Photography by Dion Robeson