The Melbourne-based firm designed Federal House to be both a peaceful sanctuary for its clients and a sculptural object dug into a slope in the hilly, forested landscape.
“At a distance the building is recessive, a shadow within the vast landscape,” described Edition Office.
“On closer inspection, a highly textural outer skin of thick timber battens contrasts the earlier sense of a machined tectonic, allowing organic materials gestures to drive the dialogue with physical human intimacy.”
Drawing on the verandah typology common among Australia’s colonial homesteads, a central living, dining and kitchen space is wrapped by a partially covered deck area.
This deck was designed to create a variety of different connections to the surrounding landscape.
It was lined with black timber battens that filter air, views and more direct sunlight on the western edge, and left entirely open for panoramic views to the north.
Sliding glass doors around the living spaces allow them to be completely opened to the elements or sealed off.
At the centre is a double-height garden void, illuminated by a cut in the home’s roof.
“The expansion and contraction of the interior allows shifts between the intimate and the public, between immediate landscape and the expansive unfolding landscape to the north,” said the studio.
Along the eastern edge of the home is the bedroom block, what the studio calls an “enclave of withdrawal, rest and solitude” containing two smaller rooms either side of a bathroom and a large en-suite bedroom with its own private terrace.
For the interiors, the dark wood and concrete are contrasted by lighter wooden floors and tan leather furniture, with custom door pulls designed to encourage a “tactile engagement” with the home.
On the lower level is a thin pool open to the landscape at one end, which cools air as it travels through the building, up the garden void into the living spaces.
This natural ventilation is supplemented with a ceiling fan for the hotter days of the year and a fireplace for winter.
Edition Office has recently completed another rural home in the Australian town of Kyneton, which also saw natural surroundings inform a textural material palette.
The photography is by Ben Hosking.
Lead designers: Kim Bridgland, Aaron Roberts
Landscape designer: Florian Wild
Structural engineer: Westera Partners
Builder: SJ Reynolds Constructions
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