Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on September 19, 2009
Here is another custom home design by the Australian Architecture firm, URZ-SANBY Architects. This one is in the Kangaroo Valley and follows the same in door out door concept of their other designs. The entire house opens up to become part of the environment.
By the Architecture Firm UTZ-SANBY
The brief was to build a simple weekend retreat that would respond to the local climate, the immediate site and the surrounding landscape. The site is 65 hectares, located in Kangaroo Valley, and is surrounded by steep sandstone escarpments to the south and views down the valley to the North. There were no existing services on the site.
The decision to make the house entirely self-sufficient, was made early in the project as a means of controlling the budget. This then drove the design process, toward a well considered environmental response in terms of form, structure and materials and led to a new exploration of sustainable systems and technologies for our practice.
The extruded rectangular form of the house, stretches along the contours of the site, and enables every room to have a view. The circulation spine is aligned with two wooded fingers, enclosing the site to the East and West. Windows at each end of the corridor frame particular views of selected trees. Internal finishes have been deliberately selected for durability and to give the spaces a pared back, almost industrial quality, that compliments the exposed steel structure of the building.
The continuous roof and ceiling plane is probably the most important element of the design, as it not only provides shelter and unity, but is pitched at precisely the right angle to exclude summer sun, invite winter sun and to ensure maximum water collection.
The house is solid to the South, to protect from cold winter winds and is open to the North, to maximise on the spectacular views down the valley and allow the winter sun to penetrate deep into the internal spaces. Thermal mass is provided by a large concrete floor slab, which is heated in winter.
While extremely comfortable and versatile, the essence of this house is to anchor the building to the landscape and provide a stage from which to view the surrounding environment.