Competition / 2016
Our joint entry with Studio [R] Architecture + Design for the home of tomorrow competition challenges the obsession with iconic form and the architectural “feature”. Hearth Home emphasizes the inherent qualities of the humble brick: robust and timeless, protective and sustainable, with a unique beauty derived from its repetitive patterns. Hearth Home seeks to utilise the brick as the efficient heart of the home, rather than a veneer, in order to make the most of these qualities.
More than an exercise in a decorative or protective skin, the brick patterns and proportions form the core of the communal space. The result is a full brick central volume (the hearth), which is beautiful but sturdy enough to take life’s knocks and bumps. The dimensions of this hearth are based on the brick module – the inherent geometry of the material ensures an efficient construction method with limited wastage, with any rejected or damaged bricks being used on site within the landscape.
The hearth is the centre of the house structurally and socially. As the family unit changes, the hearth remains constant, acting as a gathering space for ebb and flow of daily life. Ancillary spaces plug into this core and are lightweight and flexible – they can be easily varied and added to as the needs of the family change.
The monolithic nature of the hearth is punctured by natural light. The heavy surfaces come alive with the changing light and allow an appreciation of material and craft, while also controlling the thermal comfort of the home. The joy of the coolth of the brick surface on a hot summer’s day contrasts with the heat emanating from the brick fireplace in the winter.
The inhabited brick terrain allows for a compact but materially rich experience, providing a setting for the daily rituals of the family for generations to come.