St Lucia House

St Lucia House

The St Lucia House re-addresses the potential of indoor-outdoor space; a contemporary evolution of subtropical housing types in which the verandah is the prime living space.

The site, although a small 20 x 20 metres, was home to 3 major trees, two Mangoes and a Poinciana, arranged remarkably symmetrically. The house occupies the southern edge of the site, allowing the retention of the magnificent trees for shade, privacy and beauty. Views through the trees offer glimpses of the river.

Designed for the architects and their then teenage sons, the house is arranged for sociability and privacy.

Five split levels provide opportunities for both connectivity and privacy.

The living zone, the core of the house, is a ‘piano nobile’ suspended at tree canopy level with a huge north facing operable glazed window wall admitting filtered light and cooling breezes.

All rooms face north for winter sun and summer shade; the optimal arrangement for environmentally ‘passive’ design. The house is a demonstration of zero emission design with no artificial heating or cooling, earth coupled rooms to stabilise temperature, and a lightweight  upper structure and maximum cross ventilation for rapid summer cooling. Materials and structure operate efficiently, with minimal waste. Nature itself provides the delight in the play of light, the rustling of the breeze through the trees, the scent of subtropical flowers.

The house was awarded Australian Institute of  Architects State and National Awards in 2000.

Project Sheet

Project Summary

Elizabeth Watson Brown and Prof. Peter Skinner
St Lucia, QLD
Floor area
Original value