Project Description

In recent years Archisoul Architects have seen an increase in clients looking to build a pair of new semi-detached homes, otherwise known as a ’duplex’.

Our client for the J&B House came to us with the idea of building a new home, that would provide them with a solution for their adult children, looking to buy into an ever increasingly expensive housing market on the northern beaches. We looked at their land size and the opportunities and options that existed for building a semi/or duplex.

A duplex can be defined as a pair of houses with partially shared structure. This can either be above / below each other or side by side with a shared party wall. Side by side has the benefit of feeling like two houses rather than ground and first floor apartments which has made it a more popular option. People generally prefer to have a street level front door and direct garden access for both homes and it also helps to reduce noise disturbance caused by footsteps or music from an upstairs neighbour. This was the design option that our client preferred, as it seemed suited to theirs and their children’s lifestyles as well as being more versatile.

The existing 1950’s brick home had few redeeming features, but was based on a large 750 sqm block, with great access to transport, facilities, amenities and overlooking a park. The clients loved the location, so didn’t want to relocate. We guided them through the options of a new build and the benefits of building a semi.

Another benefit was to have a smaller more manageable garden requiring minimal upkeep. By designing perfectly proportioned open-planned living spaces rather than several independent living rooms this gave the family the space they wanted, with less building area.

This use of the site gave the client the chance to maximise their land value, funding their own dream home and being able to give their children the opportunity to get on the housing ladder, live independently form each other and be affordable. The desire was also to stay in the home long term so multi-generational living was also considered, as they liked the idea of eventually having grandchildren living next door.

There were also the cost savings to consider of constructing two homes simultaneously. By reducing the builders set up costs and allowing shared resources, this meant base costs and excesses could be substantially reduced. The same is true in the design phase, finding savings on consultant fees over the cost of building on two separate sites.

For the design aspect the clients were concerned that the southern facing semi would receive less solar access and it would be darker. Archisoul’s approach to clever design thinking ensures both sides benefit from great sun light, views, breezes, etc. There was also concern that the two homes would be identical, but Archisoul always respond to an individual brief for each side and find interesting ways to make the two homes sit comfortably next to each other.

By taking the clients through advance 3D modelling and rendering software our designs are brought to life at an early stage. This allowed the clients to fully visualise how they will live in the spaces and how we can optimise the natural light through the different seasons.