Our design for this house and landscape exploits the bigness of the building envelope to create a territory and a domestic interior. The linear architecture is a direct consequence of our landscape strategy that organises the built form and vegetation in bands across the site to reinforce the ecological shifts observable in the groundscape along the length of the site.
The house marks the edge of the escarpment. It is the threshold between the exotic and indigenous landscapes which also recall the front and back yard of the generic suburban house. Its blackness is a quixotic shadow in a constructed environment.
The folded roof collects the three programmatic parts of the house – guesthouse, main house and garage.
Its silhouette recalls the origami beginnings of our “black swan”– a reference to the flock of black swans that occupy the lake named after them (Connewarre). The detailing of the project, choice of structural systems and materials were part of an investigation into the ability of each element to satisfy more than one criteria; to economically reiterate the simplicity of the overall gesture. The implication is that the house has been stretched to occupy the site and beyond, to a scale which suggests a sequential rather than a singular reading.
The house was designed within the broader context of the landscape and site, four hectares of farmland running down to the banks of Lake Connewarre on the Bellarine Peninsula. The design of the building follows the land and the dramatic drop along the edge of an escarpment. It defines or draws your attention to the shift in the landscape and, when you are inside the house, there is a sense of being held out over that drop. The block was replanted with native flora so the site is integrated into the existing landscape.