McCrae House

The house is designed as 5 individual elements arranged around a central open courtyard. The 5 elements are expressed by their square pyramidal hip roof forms truncated at the apex by skylights that provide views of the sky above and natural ventilation of the interior space.

Durable and climatically suitable unglazed terracotta tiles will naturally insulate the house due to their inherent thermal mass. While the terracotta tiles are a traditional roofing material, this house will use flat profile tiles mitered at the hips to give a contemporary, minimal look to the roof forms. Other external materials include ship-lap timber boards laid horizontally and painted in a sun bleached appearance, bagged & painted brick walls and timber battens for shading.

Internally, more terracotta is introduced as a floor finish throughout providing a warm, natural and artisanal quality to the interior. The pyramidal roof will be lined internally with plywood allowing shifting and ephemeral natural light patterns to play within the interior spaces throughout the day.

Passive ventilation is a key consideration in the design of this house. The house uses a passive cooling technique, stack ventilation, which uses temperature differences to move air. Cool air is sucked in through low inlet openings and hotter exhaust air escapes through high outlet openings. The stack ventilation will be combined with sliding windows and doors allowing cross-ventilation as well. Multiple different horizontal and vertical air pathways will be combined to create a highly flexible, breathable building that responds to climatic conditions.