Sandringham House is a minimal residence located in Melbourne, Australia, designed by Ellul Architecture. The restrained black pavilion is nestled into the landscape under the canopy of a substantial oak tree. A series of courtyards are carved out of the simple form to provide a calming sanctuary within. A substantial oak tree in the front yard compromised the existing 1950s house causing it to fall into a state of disrepair. The existing house was a dark, damp rabbit warren of rooms. Rooms were oriented correctly. A series of courtyards and a roof pop-up allowed light/ventilation to penetrate deep into the plan. Passive design was promoted through operable shading elements and high level windows, maximizing cross flow ventilation. A highly private family, the house needed to be their refuge. Batten screens/operable panels allow the house to be shutdown from the outside world.

Native landscaping within provides a calming outlook. The house is deliberately recessive in nature, with the minimal black clad pavilion nestling into the site, ensuring the oak becomes the focal point. The native landscaped front yard spills onto the street, generously giving back to the public realm, whilst providing a buffer to the house beyond. It was important the house was a place of refuge, with screened courtyards providing a layer of protection, whilst also offering opportunities for calming landscaping within. Operable panels within the steel shroud can be drawn across the fixed glazing, allowing the house to be shut down to the street. To minimize the footprint, additional briefed rooms (retreat, playroom, guest bedroom) were consolidated into a large flexible room, orientated north and connected to the decked courtyard.

Photography by Rory Gardiner