Lilyfield House is located in Sydney’s Inner West and comprises alterations and first and second floor additions to a former shop building.

Project Name: Lilyfield House
Studio Name:
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photography: Robert Gray & John Gollings
Project size: 196 m2
Site size: 287 m2
Completion date: 2018
Building levels: 3

Lilyfield House by studio203 - Sheet1
Kitchen+Dining ©John Gollings

Short Description
Lilyfield House is a spatial assembly of internal and external rooms and volumes, opening to the light and rising to the district outlook. The rooms and platforms of the house pivot around the central atrium, connecting to garden terraces and opening a conceptual and personal dialogue through the levels.

Lilyfield Houses rises behind a distinctive early shopfront, a local feature, renovated and set into scene, terminating the Norton Street Leichhardt vista.

The idea of a ‘public’ path rising through the house, is interwoven with private spaces arranged around the central atrium and its black stairs, bridge and hearth. Beyond these spaces, garden terraces form an outer constellation such that every room is held between the central void and a garden experience.

The plan progressively reduces as the house rises culminating in a more intimate living space, enclosed tent-like by the curved inner planes of the roof and opening up to district views. A richness of spatial and tectonic experience is given precedence over room count, technology for its sake or pursuit of newness.

Materials throughout are simple and reduced. White set render, sealed, identifies retained masonry from the original house. Off form concrete, bamboo flooring and hoop pine ply provide economical warmth and texture. Clear anodised framed glazing meets stringent acoustic and energy requirements.

Lilyfield House by studio203 - Sheet2
Seating Space ©John Gollings

The project engages the senses like the building’s hidden history: from the intricate tooled patterns of the white set masonry which is held together by the velvety materiality of the off-form concrete surfaces, to the cold smoothness of the stove finished black stairs and rustic fireplace, reminding of the charcoal traces of it’s predecessor. The reverberant sound of bare feet on the steel treads and firm landing on the stone of the kitchen floor reflect the robustness of the material palette of a bygone era.

Lilyfield House is an assembly of remnants, memories and opportunities. It seeks out special corners with vignettes of the outside world, offering privacy but ensuring a connectedness that is vital for the modern family.

Project Brief
Lilyfield House caters for a family with children of three different age groups as well as for working-from-home. Compact private spaces are supplemented with generous living, dining, kitchen and play spaces for the family interaction. Gardens and garden terraces create separate outdoor space opportunities on every level to retreat, entertain or play.

A home office can be separately accessed from the front courtyard to receive clients without interrupting the family. At the bottom of the atrium, there is no specific program or furniture. This is a free space ready for impromptu dance and music performances, gymnastic displays, battles and constructions.

Lilyfield House maximises the essential amenity for a family of five that was previously in short supply. Now multiple spaces offer opportunities for family members to sit in the sun, to enjoy the garden areas and or district views.

Lilyfield House by studio203 - Sheet3
Bedroom ©Robert Gray

The central spatial device is a unique daily experience and a core part of family life. Conversations continue through this space and the sounds intersect with the movement of people and light. The ever evolving light qualities tell convey time of day and season, overlapping with seemingly complex three dimensional vistas that belie the simplicity of the plan.

Lilyfield House is efficient and sustainable in its use of an inner city site. Its envelope re-uses existing fabric, with gardens multiplied upwards and new additions designed to maximise environmental outcomes in their orientation, section, materials, envelope and landscape. The house maximises passive heating and cooling and does not require air conditioning.

A three-storey top lit atrium brings light and winter sun deep into the plan and creates a highly effective ventilation path, drawing air from garden terraces up through the house. Exposed concrete soffits and walls together with historic masonry walls provide thermal mass and radiate cool in hot weather. External sliding screens and tilt-up shutters protect from sun.

In winter, the well insulated and sealed envelope holds the heat gained through north glazing at three levels, and dark polished bluestone floor radiates absorbed winter sun. Rainwater harvesting is connected to toilets, laundry and garden. LED lighting is used throughout. Hot water is provided utilising renewable energy (heatpump).

Heating is a combination of a high-efficiency European hydronic heating system and a double-sided gas fireplace, with maximised heat distribution via the atrium. The house is set up for solar harvesting. Lilyfield House uses less electricity than a one person household in summer and exceeds water efficiency targets.


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