This project deals with typical Brisbane things. A growing family, an existing Queenslander, a very steep slope and a modest budget. The family had lived on site for ten years and started a family that now included four children.

Project Name: Lansdowne Residence
Studio Name:
Cox Architecture
Brisbane, Australia
Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones

Lansdowne Residence By Cox Architecture - Sheet1
Pool Side ©Christopher Frederick Jones

The house was an assemblage of the highset Queenslander on the low side of the site, meshed with a very ordinary box like addition on the high side of the site, a full level above the Queenslander. The kitchen and living was located in the Queenslander.

There was no clear hierarchy of space nor generous gathering space for the family. However staying and renovating was not a clear choice. The compelling opportunity was the elevated position looking south to the city around to Mt Coot-tha and beyond to the ranges south of the border.

The scheme proposed to move the kitchen and living space to the upper level with the main bedroom and locate all children’s bedrooms, bathroom, laundry and children’s communal space in the Queenslander. The floor and substructure of the addition were retained with all new work above floor level.

Lansdowne Residence By Cox Architecture - Sheet2
Dining space ©Christopher Frederick Jones

The upper level was composed as a linear living/dining space extending into a garden courtyard looking south to the city. The kitchen was located to survey these spaces. The main bedroom was located directly adjacent the living space with a series of solid pivoting panels allowing a direct engagement between the bedroom and the views to the south beyond the living space.

The extruded section of the upper level was arranged with an inverted roof truss to provide a sloping soffit for the living space rising and opening up to the south. The southern face used frameless sash double hung windows to provide a combined balustrade and natural ventilation solution that maximise the view and effectively make the room a securable “verandah” for the house. Projecting gables and windowheads combined to provide protection from the western sun and were the key elements in the building identity. These projections provided a zone for external movement between the two levels.

The end of the living space is resolved as a double height outdoor room adjacent the garden courtyard. The courtyard is cut further into the hill to extend a flat gathering zone and the retention walls include seating opportunities. An external fireplace provides a focus for the courtyard and a device for separating the neighbouring dwelling which is overscaled and dominant on the northern boundary.

Lansdowne Residence By Cox Architecture - Sheet3
Pool Side ©Christopher Frederick Jones

A new two car carport includes overhead battened panels that allow the space to work in conjunction with the courtyard as an extended party space. A new gate and entry sequence separate the carport from the pool.

The property benefits from being immediately adjacent and unformed street, (a result of the street network encountering the extremely steep slope). This element facilitated a few of the planning moves and in particular the pool.

The pool is a new essential element at the level of the living space and elevated above the adjacent falling ground. The connection of the house to the pool and the views beyond remind of the famous Californian mid century modernist arrangements and why they are so effective.


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