Erskine River House


Lynn Chew

Audrey Shaw

Darcy Dunn

Michael Archibald

Builder: Spence Construction

Nook: a corner or recess, especially one offering seclusion or security. Gentle, encompassing, robust, beautiful. A retreat for one or two. Quality not quantity. Intimate. Protective. A prospect – over the forested hills, towards the distant sea – and a refuge – from wind, fire, city life. Resistant to fire. A concrete canvas for a play of light and shadow, dappled. Living below the shadow, a dark ceiling with cracks of light that index the passing of the day around you.


To the north, open. To the south a bastion against the elements. A supporting wall to lean against, one that holds you in its folds, shields against the street. Both bunker and verandah. Tightly closed or loosely open. Depending on season, threat of fire. Sliding windows and mesh screens that deal with 3 constants in rural bushfire zones – embers, flies, light.

One enters from the eastern terrace, set a couple of steps down into the ground, beside the outdoor shower. Into the breezeway/mudroom. Guest bed east, house core west, north terrace ahead and a further few steps down.

The bath terminates the house. A secluded vantage point from which to take in the site’s immense bush beauty.

Singular in the use of material – concrete – for walls, floor, hearth and terrace. A blunt exterior, efficient in its repeats of insulated panels and windows belies a curved, dynamic yet calm interior that holds. Equally disciplined in its use of pre-cast using fewest number of formwork variations. A major and a minor curve. The tectonic joy of pre-caste celebrated in the details. The expression of the gap between panels, for conduits, for sliding doors. Poche.

Ground Floor Plan

Ground Floor Plan