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Southern Outlet House
National Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
Jury Citation “This modest house is a reflection of the adventurous architect…….Rich in exploration, the Southern Outlet House challenges expectations of what can be achieved on a highly visible, regional domestic site.”
The Esmond Dorney Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
Jury Citation “Designed and built by the architect, the jury was struck by his questioning of the nature of a house and its relationship to the public domain. This house is rich in exploration – from its minimal footprint and budget to its engagement with its immediate surroundings and nearby highway. Internal spaces are blurred by the split-level arrangement of private to public with an emphasis on the high-ceiling living area, which spills out onto a covered terrace. Internally, colour and texture are richly celebrated. Externally, the house is a dark shell apart from the significant and provocative northern facade overlooking the highway below. This house deserves high recognition by virtue of its character: playful and confident, modest in size, yet bold in expression.”
Situated on a northeast facing slope adjacent a major arterial road, the Southern Outlet House is a site specific study of the contribution a private residence may make to the public domain and the role of architecture more broadly in a small regional centre. The core requirements of a climatically responsive and welcoming family home underpin the project. The building is sited and planned to maximise the attributes of the location and work within the constraints of a steep slope and restrictive budget. Adopting a strategy from early 20th Century naval camouflage, the dazzle technique is employed, not in order to conceal the mass of building, but rather to manipulate its public face, adjust its scale, and suggest another dimension to the otherwise flat facade. The building acknowledges people passing by in vehicles at speed, as well as those living on the hill opposite who view back to the static object. The public face is perhaps changed in its form and nature and becomes just another highway directional sign, vehicle, billboard or piece of public art. Ultimately the scheme is the inevitable consequence of a situation where the owner, architect and builder are the same person.
The Valley House is shaped and adapted to the contours of a northwest-facing valley. Viewing down to the nearby city and river beyond, the house is centred on this valley outlook.
Formed as a singular continuous object rising to the valley edge, the principal design strategy is focused on the kitchen where a generous opening is made through the full depth of the building. The suggestion is that the valley remains continuous through the house with outdoor living areas on either side accommodating variable weather conditions.
Parts of the building are pulled away forming protective wings and reveal the inhabitation of the home. Tasmania timbers are a particular focus in the thresholds between inside and outside, while the textural qualities of materials are further celebrated in the interior.
In crafting a comfortable and personal family home, the scheme seeks to blend the complexities and subtleties of functional requirements with specific site and microclimatic conditions in a cohesive and consistent manner.
The Branch Community Centre Extension