A new off-grid house makes geometric allusions to the clients’ love of the abstract formal qualities of modernist houses by Myron Goldfinger and Charles Gwathmey. Based on a 4m x 3.8m structural grid, the design pin-wheels a series of private and public rooms around a central courtyard to provide a modest internal floor area of 100 sqm with a low environmental footprint of only 129 sqm on the site. Pop-up roof projections at each corner amplify the pin-wheel to offer expanded volumes and varying connections to tree canopies and sky views.
Aside from requisite living, dining, kitchen, and bathroom spaces, it accommodates a dedicated office, a covered entry terrace for outdoor dining, 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and a 3rd room which is flexibly adapted from a second living space to a guest bedroom. The interior completely opens to the central courtyard inlaid with a circular brick pattern, to allow spatial interplay and a variety of slight lines through the house.
It incorporates a number of robust and durable materials to meet the design performance required of a BAL FZ high bushfire attack level, inclusive of a fireproof concrete base, low carbon fibre-cement panels, pre-finished metal cladding, and fire-rated thermally efficient double glazing. External horizontally-sliding metal mesh screens and vertically-retractable motorised screens provide fire barriers and enable moderation of solar access when required, allowing its entire envelope to be fully ‘shut down’ when unoccupied.
The exterior and interior material palettes reference the diversity of the natural grey, green, brown, and silver tones embodied in the eucalyptus and angophora trees on site, to enable a complementary dialogue to be forged with its surrounding landscape and to allow the house to sit comfortably within its setting. It integrates several off-grid measures including a solar system for power generation, 20,000 litres of underground water storage, under-floor heating, a small wood fire, and a heat recovery system to duct warm fresh air heated by exhaust air as needed.
Date: 2021 -
Location: Mt Victoria, Blue Mountains NSW / Dharug and Gundungurra Land
Visualisations: Matthew Fonda
Model: Christopher Polly Architect
Model Photography: Christopher Polly Architect
3D Modelling Visuals: Christopher Polly Architect