Noosa in Newtown

Modern Homes

Brookes/Long House -­ Newtown (Sydney, Australia)

In a bustling, feral, inner-city suburb this is a peaceful, tropical, tree house; an oasis which excludes the surrounding visual ugliness. The light, timber construcon and the use of glass louvres for controlling ventalation gives it that Queensland, holiday feeling.

It’s a free-flowing, open and flexible house with only one box – a blue Tardis plonked in the front space – concealing a shower room, wardrobe, larder and refrigerator, separating the reception and guest areas from the kitchen.Read more >>

Key Features

  • Upside-down/inside-out “Organic-Deconstructivist” design;
  • The block is wide for this suburb, slopes West to East , and backs onto a Reserve with large trees;
  • Split levels slide down land required a minimum of cut and fill;
  • On the North-side there are city views from the upper levels;
  • Living and Bedrooms are set back from North-side for sun control;
  • Efficient passive solar principles for lighng, venllaon, heang and cooling, insulaon, recycling of materials and photo voltaic roof panels.

Project Description

Ground Floor

Kept the shape of the exisng, termite-ridden, mber-framed, aluminium siding house, but re-built it totally. Exploded the interior to create an open “Barn”:

  • Enclosed Frontyard with wavy timber fence, timber decking and Veranda.
  • Entry/Library/Guest space with a free-standing “Tardis” (for shower/WC/basin, wardrobe, pantry and refrigerator) and exisng brick fireplace (now 2-way), separated from Kitchen (overlooking Sideyard);
  • Dining under glass roof, opening to Deck > Spa > Waterfall > Garden > Paving >BBQ > back fence opening to Reserve.
  • Split level stairs, with polycarbonate wall as lantern, to the rear extension.

Lower Ground

Two Bedrooms opening to Backyard. Bath with glass roof and Laundry cupboard.

First Floor

Entertainment Bar and Living opening to a North-facing Balcony, overlooking Backyard and distant “city views”.

Upper First

Home Office opening to a Deck.


24 photo-voltaic panels.

Building Details

Date of completion: 2003
Construction time: Spread over four stages

Project type: Single Residenal House

Size: 250m2 (Building)
50m2 (Decks)

Project Team

Architect: Patrick Brookes Architect
Builder: Patrick Brookes as Owner/Builder

  • Stage 1 – Aranac (Contracng) Pty Ltd
  • Stages 2 & 3 – Various sub-contractors
  • Stage 4 Spa – Builders from Summerland Point

Structural Engineer:

  • Concrete slab – Connell Wagner
  • Timber frame structure – Birzulis Associates

Surveyor: Donovan Consultants

Architect’s statement

The explosion

“Noah’s Ark crashes into shearer’s shed”
Behind the naïve facade of an early twentieth century, timber-framed, worker’s cottage, it seems that a clinker boat has collided with an outback shearing shed, creating a structure that is exposed and proudly naked. The raw frames and grids appear to be falling over, with massive booms hanging off the long, tilting masts.
These seemingly chaotic, deconstructionist shapes were  derived strictly from the specific character of the site: as the split levels slide down the sloping land, the living areas are tipped upside, for sun, light, limited views and venlaon, while the bedrooms and ulity rooms are downside giving privacy and enclosure.
The house is built around three landscaped courtyards and three decks are used to extend the living spaces.

Three Franks and a Paul

For the inspiration, perhaps there were memories of Frank Lloyd Wright – the first and greatest modern architect – with hints of Taliesin West and the Lake Tahoe houseboats; of pre-Post-modern Frank Gehry’s use of raw materials; of Franklin D. Israel’s variegated shapes, asymmetrical perspecves and layering of colours.

Then there are the modern jazz musicians such as Paul Desmond who created lyrical flights of fantasy over Dave Brubeck’s altered time signatures.

The constructin

It was designed as a composition in four movements:

1. Starting in 1993 with the rear extension;
2. The front demolition and replacement;
3. The connecting stairs, studio and courtyards; and
4. The construction of a spa/plunge pool with waterfall.

The construction techniques required were low-tech, and as I produced hundreds of detailed drawings and ordered all the materials, there has been a passing parade of many carpenters and other sub-contractors puttig it together.

Local Government: South Sydney (now City of Sydney) Council

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