Bardolph Gardens

Breathe Architecture

Bardolph Gardens is about setting an example for delivering sustainable, affordable and well-designed rental housing. Occupying what was an under-utilised space at the rear of two Californian bungalows in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs, the dwellings are architecturally and formally respectful to the immediate residential context. Acting as both house and garden, Bardolph Gardens consists of two simple and robust single-storey dwellings.

Celebrating the prominence of brick materiality in the surrounding context, the recycled brick facade adds value to the streetscape with a simple, contemporary aesthetic. The form and pitch of the roof planes responds to those of the neighbouring houses, homogenising the forms with the neighbourhood character.

Importantly, every room has a connection to the outdoors. Interiors are generous, light filled, warm and spacious. Embedded throughout the dwellings are a series of hit-and-miss brick screens. Creating smaller courtyards, the brick screens draw in air and bring dappled light to the spaces beyond. Opening out onto these courtyards are the bedrooms, while bathrooms have a visual connection to greenery.

Bardolph Gardens was designed with a priority toward sustainability. Carefully designed to maximise thermal performance through its building envelope, the dwellings are double glazed and carefully orientated. They operate entirely from a zero-fossil-fuel services system, including a solar PV array and heat pump system that supplies hot water.

Materials are recycled, recyclable and locally sourced where possible including timber bench tops, timber decking and all external brickwork. Polished concrete flooring contains recycled content and all applied finishes are low VOC. Rainwater is collected and stored on site and plumbed back into toilets and garden taps for re-use. Each dwelling achieves a minimum of 8 stars.

Furniture: Aramadillo Co., Ross Gardam, Skeehan Studio, Arper, Sipa. Lighting: LEDlux (Beacon Lighting), Illume, Ambience, Ikea. Finishes: Dulux, James Hardie, Urban Salvage, Signorino, Vogue Ceramic Tiles, Kingspan Water, Pumpworks, Briggs Veneer. Fittings & Fixtures: Fisher and Paykel.

Photography: Tom Ross