'The Cantabrian' Competition Entry



This "Cantabrian" makes more of less. Convential house planning is based on the two assumptions of nuclear family households and single purpose rooms. By challenging these assumptions, a very high level of amenity and flexibility is provided within the modest 150m2.

The compact planning required by the TC3 shape constraint becomes a virtue in terms of mulvalent planning cost economy and energy efficiency.


The house is sited up to the minimum Living 1 zone front yard. This maintains the streetscape and maximises the north facing outdoor living area at the back of the site.

Setbacks from side boundaries are sufficient to provide usable outdoor living areas east and west.

The separate single garage is sited alongside the house, set back from street by 6m. This minimises driveway area and cost, while providing for offstreet parking for two cars. It also avoids the street scene being dominated by garaging.  The roof forms of the house and garage together denote the entrance, so that the garage is visually integrated. Covered access between garage and house can readily be provided with a simple linking roof.

While optimised for the north-south site provided, the design readily adapts to east-west oriented sites, with varying street access. 


Cost economy is to be managed with conventional construction and materials, with innovation at the level of planning and the potential for use.

Framing is conventional timber stud, with trussed roof.

In two areas, ceiling follows roofline with trusses lined around – to facilitate clerestorey glazing for cross ventilation and sun above the garage, access to roofspace storage, and provide a visual change from flat ceilings.

Foundations and floor are concrete slab on grade. If there are cost advantages, a sealed concrete floor could be considered to the main living and kitchen areas.

Exterior wall claddings are vertical profiled metal, and EIFS (exterior insulation and finishing system). The EIFS gives an impression of wall thickness and permanence, within the constraint of a lightweight cladding. Profiled metal is economical, provides textural contrast and may be direct-fixed.

Exterior windows are double glazed aluminium, for economy and durability.

Internal joinery is designed in straight runs, to suit modular base units and with simply shaped benchtops.

Depending on economics, the following enhancements would be top priority to reduce energy consumption:

  • Edge insulation to foundations
  • Above code-minimum roof and wall insulation
  • LED lighting