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House at Hanging Rock

This house organises interior and exterior space and the extended site (of future plantings) through a series of parallel bands. These manifest in the house and immediate landscape as pre-caste concrete walls in an east west direction and, between and defined by these, three terraces, staggered in plan and stepped down the site along a gentle diagonal.

The upper terrace forms the main bedroom suite including ensuite and study/sitting area. The middle terrace, widest of the three, is for living with kitchen and dining. The lower one is multi-purpose – for studio and guest use.

At the overlap of the three the smaller spaces associated with the upper and lower terraces become part of the living area so that the experience is of one larger space. The dining area is in the middle of the three levels and can open to the north and south terraces to act as a breezeway in summer.

The formal arrangement of the house frames desirable views – distant ones of hanging rock and closer ones of bush land particularly to the south and east. The parallel concrete walls form longitudinal view corridors. In contrast lateral views are established by ‘pulling apart’ select panels, most dramatically in the dining area from which views through all levels are possible. There are also incidental diagonal views across the various levels/spaces. Although a 2.4 module is used for all wall panels other than those with windows the spatial outcome is decidedly un-modular and dynamic.

The roof is a single sweeping gesture – a rhomboid that creates an elegant, low form along the hill. Its tapered shape and substantial overhang creates a delicate edge that visually grades the building – part wall, part shadow – into the surrounding landscape.

A largely concrete palette (floors and walls) aligned the client’s desire for a brutalist use of materials with the high BAL rating required in this area. Armourply joinery enrich this in combination with the blackness of the form ply ceiling which intensifies the colours of the adjacent bush and creates an intimate and sheltering interior. In time the surrounding land will be restored to its pre pastoral ecology via an intensive planting of indigenous vegetation.

House at Hanging Rock

Completed 2014
Winner 2014 AIA National Awards: Robin Boyd Award
Winner 2014 AIA Awards: Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award

Photography: Trevor Mein

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