alma-nac has won the AJ/James Hardie House of Colour contest to design a colourful and innovative playhouse for children.
The Upside Down House is a playhouse that references some of the surreal worlds created in children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland and the Pixar film Up. Its simple concept gives rise to a whole new world. The floor becomes the sky, the roof becomes the floor, enter through the chimney and slide out of the front door. It maintains the joy of a good play/tree house – the ability to be ‘king of the castle’ and a hidden world where only children can go. Favourites like tunnels, slides, nets and ladders are all included but with a slightly strange context that sparks the imagination and forms the basis for stories and adventures alike. Each façade has its own adventures and its own colour. They can be seen as part of one house or four houses together, each with its own story. While displaying some recognisable elements associated with children’s play, the house is not intended to appear out of place in its surrounding context. Instead it draws on the formal language of Green Park Village and borrows architectural motifs from that context. The distortion and reorientation of these elements brings a sense of surreal playfulness to the suburban village landscape.
As a meeting space and destination for children and adults alike, the house is intended to be sited in an open area against a domestic backdrop, emphasising its subtle eccentricities and celebrating the colourful cladding material used throughout the village.