Copper House: green secondary dwelling

This 60-square-metre secondary dwelling on a narrow lot in Coogee replaced the original fibro shack. Designed for flexible use into the future and conceived by Takt, the building is designed as three boxes which step down the slope.

Brent Dunn of Takt said the brief was for a building that was ‘rich yet calming’, and made the most of the steep site. “All construction is restrained to a 600mm grid for both materials economy and rhythm, and connection to the earth is given particular consideration. Sandstone from the original foundations has been repurposed for landscape steps.”

A butterfly roof invites winter sun and provides seclusion from neighbours; and a dark concrete slab and panels of artist canvas for internal walls create a tactile interior. The steel-framed building is clad in copper, which was chosen to age gracefully in a coastal environment – it has already developed a patina.

It can be used as a permanent home, granny flat, rental or boutique B&B. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, living space and windows which can be opened to take in breezes and views of the sky.

Takt’s interest in small-footprint buildings began with their own backyard office, which generated a lot of interest. TAKT aims for ‘inherent sustainability’ in its projects: small, well constructed and built to last. The company is now developing a modular version of the design, which can be extended if required.

“Small purpose-built spaces can be a wonderful activator of residential neighbourhoods. A lot of household properties sit empty throughout the day while occupants are at work,” says Brent. He said his experience showed people were willing to invest more per square metre for something smaller and more flexible. “Once they have a dedicated space, people start to realise they can do things at home in these smaller buildings. It opens up possibilities – to develop an idea or hobby into a whole new life working from home.”

“Copper house” is one of 10 green granny flat profiles included in Sanctuary 35, a self-contained studio special. To see which other green granny flats are profiled visit “Green granny flats and studios: 10 of the best“.

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