Location

Launceston, Tasmania

Client

Private

Year

2021

Images

Anjie Blair

Land of

Stoney Creek Nation

+

D1 Consulting Engineers

Rebecca Green & Associates

Green Building Surveying

Wayne Gorman ‘Energyman’

Tasman Geotechnics

Cohen & Associates

Riverstone

Not your typical house on a hill

If we were going to build here, it couldn’t be a shiny, polished house. The site was exposed on the edge of a steep hill just outside Launceston, with 360° views overlooking the North Esk River beyond. 

 

The farming land had belonged to Alice’s parents before she and husband James bought it for their growing family. The easy option would’ve been to build on the flat. But from our first site inspection, habitation worn away by frequent visits hinted at the spot they wanted to set up camp. 

 

Arguably, it was the most challenging area. But it was worth it.

Sheltered from the elements

Without any shelter from neighbouring buildings, the site was exposed on all sides. To tackle this, we came up with the idea for the building itself to act as a windbreak.

 

Enclosed, private spaces like the bedrooms block the prevailing winds. Then a north-facing protected outdoor space captures the sun throughout the day. With the building wrapped around this courtyard, we managed to make the most of the views too. 

Flexible spaces

During design, we made a conscious effort to create spaces that talked to one another. As a result, flexible use of space would suit this growing family without the need for a big footprint.

 

The garage isn’t just a place to park a car. It opens up at the front and back, connecting to the main living area and courtyard as a flowing living and play space. The hallway became a gallery space for Alice and James’s artwork. Space for James to be creative flows into the lower deck and BBQ area.

A landscape object

As the house is in such a visible spot, we didn’t want the dwelling to glisten at odds with the landscape. A raw, rough sawn, spotted gum timber cladding was chunky enough to take the westerly prevailing wind punches. Pre-weathered in a way, it was ready to patina gracefully.

 

We disguised elements usually associated with a house, like the windows on the west wing. This unconventional facade blurs the structure’s scale from a distance. Given it doesn’t look like a conventional house on the hill but more like the broad side of a barn, it sits comfortably in the rural farmland context. The building doesn’t sit too high, with the courtyard at natural ground level. Decking is also close enough to the ground avoiding the need for any balustrade.

 

We kept all our materials quite simple and raw, with brick anchoring the building and recessive cutaway entry points painted black to contrast with the otherwise sheer timber. 

 

Given the house has a long drive to its entry, visitors have plenty of opportunities to take in the landscape as they approach. There’s no competing with valley views like this. So we kept the house entry understated. The staggering landscape still commands centre-stage. 

RIVERSTONE

Stripped-back Georgian heritage and specialist stonemasonry.

A sympathetic restoration shaped by modern tastes.

Contrast and balance, tradition and modernity. Just what a family home needs. We responded to Symmons Plains’ significance in Tasmania’s history while curating a contemporary home for the new custodians - a family of seven.

We aimed to reveal the richness of the stories that came before. Colonist John Arndell Youl built Symmons Plains in 1839 with a structure crafted using early Australian settlement techniques. Youl famously introduced the brown trout to Australia. His family lived at Symmons for seven generations until it was bought in 2011. When we demolished the building’s original concrete, it revealed an eclectic mix of bed springs and old fencing added for reinforcement; a history of its own. It felt exciting to arrive at an answer for open, contemporary living within a building essentially the antithesis of that.

2020

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Residential Architecture

2020

Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Colorbond Steel Architecture - Commendation

Location

Launceston, Tasmania

Client

Private

Year

2021

Images

Anjie Blair

Land of

Stoney Creek Nation

D1 Consulting Engineers

Rebecca Green & Associates

Green Building Surveying

Wayne Gorman ‘Energyman’

Tasman Geotechnics

Cohen & Associates

+

Sheltered from the elements

Without any shelter from neighbouring buildings, the site was exposed on all sides. To tackle this, we came up with the idea for the building itself to act as a windbreak.

 

Enclosed, private spaces like the bedrooms block the prevailing winds. Then a north-facing protected outdoor space captures the sun throughout the day. With the building wrapped around this courtyard, we managed to make the most of the views too. 

Flexible spaces

During design, we made a conscious effort to create spaces that talked to one another. As a result, flexible use of space would suit this growing family without the need for a big footprint.

 

The garage isn’t just a place to park a car. It opens up at the front and back, connecting to the main living area and courtyard as a flowing living and play space. The hallway became a gallery space for Alice and James’s artwork. Space for James to be creative flows into the lower deck and BBQ area.

A landscape object

As the house is in such a visible spot, we didn’t want the dwelling to glisten at odds with the landscape. A raw, rough sawn, spotted gum timber cladding was chunky enough to take the westerly prevailing wind punches. Pre-weathered in a way, it was ready to patina gracefully.

 

We disguised elements usually associated with a house, like the windows on the west wing. This unconventional facade blurs the structure’s scale from a distance. Given it doesn’t look like a conventional house on the hill but more like the broad side of a barn, it sits comfortably in the rural farmland context. The building doesn’t sit too high, with the courtyard at natural ground level. Decking is also close enough to the ground avoiding the need for any balustrade.

 

We kept all our materials quite simple and raw, with brick anchoring the building and recessive cutaway entry points painted black to contrast with the otherwise sheer timber. 

 

Given the house has a long drive to its entry, visitors have plenty of opportunities to take in the landscape as they approach. There’s no competing with valley views like this. So we kept the house entry understated. The staggering landscape still commands centre-stage.