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Decontra House

Fitt De Felice

Victoria Entries 2010

A classic courtyard house built of earth and timber to fortify the sense of ‘home’.

The site for this four bedroom family home is a north facing acre allotment with an exposed corner highly visible from the street. A simple composition of bold architectural mass and planar forms is embedded into the natural landscape, establishing a high degree of privacy whilst simultaneously allowing a generosity of sun penetration and natural ventilation throughout the building. The architecture harnesses the sun and the wind, enveloping itself around a private courtyard that is the heart of the home.

A minimal palette of rammed earth and grey iron bark timber focuses the experience of the user onto the rawness of the two materials, and the dramatic differences between them. The stark massing of the rammed earth is rough and white and heavy, whilst the timber planes balance the overall composition with warmth and smooth richness. This binary material experience of the building reinforces the fundamental idea of ‘home’ – protection, robustness, safety and comfort. Grey iron bark was the right material to achieve this outcome because of its inherent raw intensity, accompanied by the crispness of a contemporary finish. In addition to the sense of solidity the rammed earth brings to the building, its high thermal mass also provides a passive method of naturally moderating the internal temperature of the building – an essential and responsible ingredient.

This is an essentially a timeless composition, expressive of its construction and celebratory in its purpose. It is a courtyard house where monolithic architectural forms are carefully composed and occasionally sliced open to filter the sun, allowing it in or screening it out variously throughout the day, and throughout the seasons. Architecturally it is a raw, earthy, contemporary building that is responsive to climate, site and brief.
Entered into:
  • Best Use Of Timber as a Structural Element, 2010
  • Best Use Of Recycled Timber, 2010
  • Best Use Of Timber Flooring, 2010
  • Best Use Of Solid Timber Cladding, 2010
  • Residential Class 1, New Buildings (Single family dwellings/townhouses), 2010
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