Arriving at the house, it is difficult to gain more than a glimpse of the dwelling through the surrounding vegetation. The front elevation comprises solely of blackened timber walls, punctured only to signify the entry.
The site is characterised by a dramatic slope and a single tea tree. In stark contrast to the surrounding houses, which attempt to cancel out the sloping topography by creating a podium level at which the outdoor areas sit exposed high above ground level, the design for this house adopted a gentler strategy, with the building form spilling down the slope, terminating in a series of terraced decks.
This design strategy allowed studiofour to expose the building’s program to varying levels of interaction with the landscape, both immediate and beyond, whilst maintaining a level of visual privacy from the golf course below.
From the street, the scale of the house is deceptively modest, the second, lower level non-apparent. The form of the building was driven by the clients desire to separate the public and private zones of the dwelling, with emphasis also placed upon capturing the varying qualities of light, scale and proportions of the space.
On the lower level, the kitchen, dining and living spaces are combined to create a single, fluid area, delineated only by a gentle level change and fireplace. The panelised matte black wall conceals a powder room, laundry and butler’s pantry, providing the high level of functionality required whilst enabling a sense of sanctuary, enclosure and comfort to be achieved in the adjacent living and dining spaces.
By using pared back forms and detailing and a restrained material palette, the emphasis becomes not on the insular and what has been designed in, but on what nature has provided, and drawing this readily available genius loci inside for all to experience.
The opportunity of a greenfield site enabled the design to become an exploration into enclosing the basic rituals of domestic life within restrained building forms. The house exemplifies the absence of what it not necessary, in both building form and detail, which is at the core of sustainable design.
Using pared back forms and detailing, the focus is on the natural elements, of the materials selected and the surrounding landscape. A restrained material palette, combined with simple interior elements, enable the views of the landscape to become part of the interior.
Renewable timber was selected as the primary building material. Used both internally and externally, its natural aesthetic properties are complemented by the low energy levels required in its production, which significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building.
The design located the eastern end of the lower level below the natural ground line, with concrete slab flooring and blockwork walls providing a high thermal mass, to balance the large expanses of glazing to the north and west. The upper level is cantilevered, with the timber construction incorporating high levels of insulation throughout.
With views to the golf course to the west, all windows and glazed doors were double glazed with high performance glass, enabling a strong connection to the landscape without compromising the integrity of the building fabric. The existing tea tree became a critical element to the locations of windows, providing sun shading to the internal living areas. Access to daylight was maximised, with all windows full height, and predominantly openable to maximise natural ventilation throughout.
These core sustainable design principles were teamed with underground water storage, water saving fixtures, low voc paints and materials, to complete the sustainable approach. Following completion of the house, the site is being re-vegetated with native species endemic to the local area.
Arriving at the house, it is difficult to gain more than a glimpse of the dwelling through the surrounding vegetation. The front elevation comprises solely of blackened timber walls, punctured only to signify the entry. The site is characterised by a dramatic slope and a single tea tree. In stark contrast to the surrounding houses, which attempt to cancel out the sloping topography by creating a podium level at which the outdoor areas sit exposed high above ground level, the design for...
- Year 2012
- Work finished in 2012
- Status Completed works
- Type Single-family residence / Interior Design