Compass Architecture
Compass Architecture

Family Home, Figtree

located on the land of the WODI WODI people of the DHARAWAL Nation

Key Features

Maximise footprint and use
Solar passive design
Rainwater harvesting
Natural light & Ventilation
Water-Wise Garden
Reduced Demolition Waste

The Site

Figtree is a leafy suburb of Wollongong, lying at the foot of the Illawarra escarpment. The existing home a 1940 timber framed cottage has been renovated to accommodate the living requirements of a family of 6. The block runs North/south, with the northern aspect on the backyard side encompassing a large open plan kitchen & living and deck.

The Brief

The residence is a home for a family of 4 children, and the requirement for space flexibility and functionality is paramount.

The proposed alterations & additions are designed to provide much needed space for the family requirements with both parents working remotely from home & growing children needs:

  • Study for 2 area/library
  • One additional bedroom for the youngest member of the family
  • One additional small bathroom
  • Additional storage: wall cupboards for linen & family belongings
  • A new entrance: as the existing entrance directly opened in the bedroom’s hallway creating functionality issue, lack of privacy & zoning.

The Process

The proposed alterations and addition are planned to minimise alterations to the existing building fabric, and to maximise the available space between the existing house and the front boundary set back.

The proposed south wall of the addition follows the “angled/splayed” line of the 6m front setback required and redefines the street elevation: a contemporary gesture.

With a recessed subfloor face brick wall to match the existing face brick, the proposed south wall is a parapet wall with contemporary compressed fibre cement cladding for low maintenance & durability.  A 650mm wide box gutter will “join” the 2 structures and allow to maximise the collection of rainwater to existing & future water tanks.

The south wall is punctuated by windows to respond to natural light/ventilation requirement of the different rooms, & by a recess in the wall surface to allow change of cladding texture. The projecting study window box/seat is created to not only modulate the elevation, but to also provide a functional seating area in a tightly dimensioned study space.

In creating a new entrance way, it is an opportunity to integrate the existing garage elevation and to articulate it to the proposed addition. A steel channel posts, and beams frame creates an entrance porch with clear roof.


As well as space and functionality, the owners are sustainability conscious, and the house and their living modus operandi always reflect these core values: solar PV system, solar hot water unit, rainwater harvesting, native gardens, veggie patch.

  • to climate control living areas, living zones can be closed to create zones
  • to improve natural light penetration
  • to use natural ventilation principles by creating cross flow. The addition of highlights windows in the entrance eastern wall, operable skylights & new window to the proposed south wall- allowing to create a natural cross ventilation between the warm side and the cool side of the living area.