National, State & Regional Building Design Award Winner 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021
Set on a challenging block with magnificent views to the ocean in the north-east and a deep rainforested valley with distant hinterland views in the south, this academic couple’s brief was a quality two-storey eco-friendly home taking advantage of the 20° to 30° easterly slope and surrounding magnificent views, with the upper level to incorporate universal design principles for future accessibility. The home was to be efficiently designed and carefully detailed. The two hectare site for this project is mostly forested with only the highest point cleared. The cleared building zone runs east-west down the steep site, giving excellent northern exposure. At an altitude of approximately 420m the site enjoys a much cooler climate than the climate zone indicates, with prevailing breezes tending from the east to south-east, resulting in exposure to potentially strong and moist winds from that direction. A bushfire threat of BAL 19 was an issue from the eastern forested slopes, and the slope stability report conducted gave a moderate to high level risk. The slope of the land meant that conforming to the council height restrictions was also a challenge.
The Contrast House is defined by its character. The natural beauty yet difficulty of its position; the contrasting material hues of naturally oiled blackbutt cladding, charred blackbutt cladding, and Monument Colorbond cladding and window frames; and it’s angular structure. Approaching the entry, the visitor is greeted by the warm timber cladding of the garage with it’s dark off-centre pitched roof. A distinctly off-kilter entry walkway then leads to the charred timber clad home that flows down the steep slope simultaneously reaching to spectacular eastern views. Earthy tones of the cladding draw from the rich deep colours of the valley below. The stepped northern facade accentuated by the blonde timber framed windows between, houses the owners extensive book collection in extruded internal bookcases. The flowing open plan living space leads out onto an expansive eastern deck encompassing the ocean and valley views, and a stairwell leads down past framed views to the south to a second level with another smaller living space and two bedrooms/studies. The design sites the house at the highest point on the property. This location takes the greatest advantage of the available ocean views and allows for the greatest ease of access from the street, resulting in a level connection between the garage and the main upper floor of the house. By pushing the house slightly forward on the slope, a usable courtyard has been created to give protection during varying weather conditions and provides the only flat outdoor space on an otherwise very steep site.