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Cowper Street House

Our clients’ brief was complex: build a modern house on a previously undeveloped block in a heritage-listed area, with strict aesthetic restrictions as well as stringent government requirements to manage overland storm water.

Heritage references found in the new

In response to these challenges, we created a contemporary four-bedroom home that’s highly responsive to its historically significant site, sitting comfortably on a street of 1940s era houses.

The steeply pitched roof, painted brick, and timber panels echo the materials palette of neighbouring homes, while the dark blue steel of the roof and northern façade references the nearby ‘Beaufort House’ – the only example in Canberra of these post-war, prefabricated steel homes.

The contained entry space evokes the sense of older houses in the area, but from there the home is entirely modern in feel. Raked ceilings soar above the open plan living spaces, and large glass sliding doors open the home to the northern sun.

A sunken lounge features a double-faced brick fireplace, and the window seat, one of the many integrated storage elements, looks out to the leafy street and park views.

Windows in bedrooms are strategically placed to balance the benefits of the northerly aspect – which faces on to a public laneway – with the need for privacy.

Key features

  • 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, 2 bathrooms (House floor area 229m2)
  • 859m2 flat site with orientation of north to the side
  • Double garage
  • Complies with strict heritage regulations and designed to overcome overland storm water issues
  • Raked ceiling to main living area with two-way fireplace and sunken lounge
  • Customised joinery including robes, separate study and loft storage in garage
  • Floor finishes include; timber, tiles and carpet
  • Northern facing pergola and entertainment area
  • Tailored to the site and designed to our client’s brief and budget


Sustainable elements

  • Gas fired hydronic heating
  • Ceiling fans for cooling
  • PVC double-glazed tilt + turn windows
  • European foldaway doors allowing complete connection between indoors and out
  • Bamboo flooring
  • Thermal mass of slab used to regulate internal temperatures
  • High levels of insulation in walls + ceilings
  • R1 insulation to slab edge + underside
  • 5,000 litre water tank
  • Evacuated tube solar hot water