Sunbird Modern cluster house
In an ambitious design program, Cardinal corporation engaged us to create architectural designs for various cluster houses in their Arlington complex. The housing estate was divided into various smaller clusters that were to be built by the future owners. Each of the various closed complexes was envisaged to have a comfortable, suburban feel avoiding the known repetition of cluster housing developments.
Cluster house design
In order to avoid repetition, three completely different designs were proposed: Contemporary, Cape Dutch and Modern. Each in various sizes and bedroom numbers, in order to cater to different budgets and needs. In addition, each house had its mirror option too, and three different colour schemes. These houses were then littered around the cluster, seemingly at random, with the idea to create a 'village' feel where different houses were built by different owners. Repetition seems to have been successfully eliminated and the houses were a success.
The architectural concept of the modern house
The house was designed with minimal frills and narrow proportions. The geometry was emphasised through different wall planes and the use of colour in the recesses. The smooth large walls were punctured by narrow high windows, A simple pitched roof was hidden behind the front and back walls, thus getting the best of both worlds. Easy roof maintenance and no potential leaks on a flat slab roof, with the look of a modern house. A concrete portal at the entrance guides the visitors towards the sheltered entrance while at the same time protecting them from the rain and sun.At the back of the house, a large covered veranda has resorted to the same tricks. A pitched lean-to roof is hidden behind the large steel beam that acts as a structural member and gutter at the same time.
The houses vary in size but typically offer 3 to 4 bedrooms. It is divided into three distinct areas. The apartment: A front bedroom that is accessible from the outside with an en-suite bathroom. This could be potentially leased out to a tenant or could be used by relative independence from the main house.The living area: The kitchen, dining and living area are all connected in one large open space. Grouping them together visually creates the feeling of a large internal space that will be used during the daytime. With the veranda linked to the inside living room, the useable day area extends outside creating a huge day area. The veranda is covered and provides protection from the sun and rain to its occupants while enjoying the intimacy of the back garden. The bedroom block: Separated from the day areas are all the bedrooms that are thus given privacy and visual and audio separation from the activities in the living areas. All the rooms look onto either the front or back garden, thus having an extended view without looking into the neighbours or walls.
Green design and passive cooling
Protection from direct sun penetration was provided by overhangs and brise-soleils, together with natural ventilation grills in all the rooms across the whole house.
The houses have been well received by the new owners, and the same cluster house designs have been used in other developments too.