How do you design a new home or renovation when your best view is in the wrong direction?


Blog from Amelia Lee, The architect behind Undercover Architect:


During the week, I watched a video put together on This is a website and blog that is the baby of Adam Di Marco, a savvy and smart guy I have had the pleasure of working with when he was a Development Manager at Leighton Properties, and I was a Director and Co-owner at DC8 Studio, and I was helping out (amongst other projects) on the Boggo Road development – both the apartments and the Sales Office.


The video was an interview with John Flynn – another savvy and smart guy I’ve had the pleasure of working with when we were both in the Senior Management team at Mirvac Design.  He’s now a Director at Conrad Gargett.


It was a nice experience to see them both on screen. In the interview, John shares from his wealth of experience his advice on how to design the perfect apartment … and talks a lot about the importance of “place-making”. Basically, this is the art of enhancing a place with what is added in the built environment, or designing ways to create a place in the built environment. Ultimately, when we think about the places we like to be, or visit, or experience, it’s because there is this place-making in action, making these spaces memorable and enjoyable to be in.


If you’d like to watch the video, you can check it out here … whether looking at houses or apartments, John has some good points about what to look for.


It was during the video that I was reminded of something that was a bit of a mantra at Mirvac (there were a few!) … and it was this:




What does that mean?

Aspect is the main outlook or view from your site. And orientation is the direction your site faces. In an ideal world, your aspect [outlook] would be to the north or north-east [orientation], as this creates the best opportunities in getting great living outcomes for your home.

And this mantra in the world of Mirvac? Well, it meant that you designed for the major view or outlook first … and then figured out how to get natural light into it after that.

But wait? Haven’t I been saying, over and over again, that you MUST design for orientation in order to create a home that is great to live in? 

Yes, I have. And I still stand by that statement. However, it’s not always possible to have your aspect and your orientation align.

ps – I’m about to talk about orientation located in the southern hemisphere – if you’re in the northern hemisphere, substitute “north” where you read “south” and vice versa.

What if your best view is to the south or the west? What if your rear yard faces west? What if it faces south? What do you do about designing to orientation then? How do you create a home that is well-lit naturally, and makes the most of the natural conditions to maintain a consistent temperature in your home?

It’s scientifically proven that natural light is necessary for our well-being. It maintains health, mood and reduces anxiety. However, in our homes, natural light (and capturing it) needs to be balanced with managing the heat gain that comes with sunlight.

And you know when you walk into a home (whether for the first time or every day) – well the view, that outlook or aspect – that’s what hits you. So if you’re fortunate to have an amazing view from your place, or even just a lovely environment, it’s natural that you want to capitolise on it. In developing your asset, that’s what makes sense. However, it’s the orientation that helps make the home a joy to live in everyday.

So walk-in wow comes from aspect, but live-in enjoyment comes from orientation.

To continue reading:

Undercover Architect

191 Musgrave Road,
Red Hill QLD 4059

07 3367 3411