This house is located at Bream Creek, 50km east of Hobart. The site is a 56ha rural property comprising pasture land, timber plantation and remnant eucalypt forest. The house site cannot be seen from the main road which adds to its sense of seclusion.
The house has been sited in a paddock, long cleared for pasture and continues to be used to graze cattle. This location, at 175m above sea level, offers superb landscape and coastal views. It is also exposed and at times very windy necessitating a responsive design.
The brief was for a simple, relatively low cost but carefully designed holiday house for use by the owners and guests. We suggested the use of timber construction for economy, ease of construction and sustainability as well, while drawing upon references to the local incidental farm structures.
A key challenge was to find an architectural response which allowed for lightweight, small scale timber construction while preventing the building being lost (or blown away!) in the enormous landscape. The conceptual solution was a building which rests lightly on posts yet gives the appearance of being anchored to the site. Through careful siting in relation to natural contours and by extending sub-floor perimeter walls to within 50mm of the ground line gives the effect that the building has ‘emerged’ from the site. This is exaggerated on the southern (approach) side by extending the façade beyond the enclosure line back up the hill.
The extended façade also presented the opportunity to heighten the experience of arrival, particularly for the first time visitor (or the owners arriving from Denmark) by concealing the view in the moments before arrival for it to be re-revealed once entering the house through the single point of entry in the southern facade.
The house plan is an interpretation of a conventional ‘bi-nuclear’ plan, separating public and private zones around the entry foyer and semi-enclosed deck. Plan orientation attempts to negotiate the requirements for solar access, protection from winds and specific views. The outcome has resulted in an oblique relationship to the view in which elements of the view are selectively revealed or obscured from key points within the house.
Spatial division provides privacy, acoustic separation and thermal zoning in a conventional manner. The building steps down the site under a consistent roof pitch enabling compressed volumes for snug bedrooms and an expanded volume for the living areas.
Rough sawn untreated macrocarpa has been selected as the primary external cladding material for its durability, environmental credentials and appearance. In time, it’s colour will sun-bleach to silver grey. The structure of the house is a composite system of plantation pine and steel frame. Roof structure is of plantation pine trusses. Hardwoods have been used only for flooring overlays, doorframes and feature timbers.