Cowper Street House


Location | Ainslie, ACT

Date completed | April 2013

EER | 7.5 stars

Area | 188 m²

Builder | Jigsaw Housing

Images | Rod Vargas


Heritage references found in the new

In response to these challenges, we created a contemporary four-bedroom home that’s highly responsive to its historically significant site, sitting comfortably on a street of 1940s era houses.

The steeply pitched roof, painted brick, and timber panels echo the materials palette of neighbouring homes, while the dark blue steel of the roof and northern façade references the nearby ‘Beaufort House’ – the only example in Canberra of these post-war, prefabricated steel homes.

The contained entry space evokes the sense of older houses in the area, but from there the home is entirely modern in feel. Raked ceilings soar above the open plan living spaces, and large glass sliding doors open the home to the northern sun.

A sunken lounge features a double-faced brick fireplace, and the window seat, one of the many integrated storage elements, looks out to the leafy street and park views.

Windows in bedrooms are strategically placed to balance the benefits of the northerly aspect – which faces on to a public laneway – with the need for privacy.


Key features 

4 bed, 2 living & 2 bath

859 m² flat site with orientation of north to the side

Double garage

Complies with strict heritage regulations and designed to overcome overland storm water issues

Raked ceiling to main living area with two-way fireplace and sunken lounge

Customised joinery including robes, separate study and loft storage in garage

Floor finishes include; timber, tiles and carpet

Northern facing pergola and entertainment area

Tailored to the site and designed to our client’s brief and budget


Gas fired hydronic heating

Ceiling fans for cooling

PVC double-glazed tilt + turn windows

European foldaway doors allowing complete connection between indoors and out

Bamboo flooring

Thermal mass of slab used to regulate internal temperatures

High levels of insulation in walls + ceilings

R1 insulation to slab edge + underside

5,000 litre water tank

Evacuated tube solar hot water



The collaboration between architecture, science and construction is the reason we have such a comfortable and liveable home. Having lived in many houses, we had clear ideas of what we wanted - to design a home that would work with us as a family. The team had the expertise to maintain a creative approach while problem-solving the many limitations of a modern build on a Heritage listed block
— The Clients | Viv & Lachan