Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Bush Retreat | Hunter Valley,Sydney,Australia | Farnan Findlay
Bush Retreat Hunter Valley
Remoteness, having no services such as water or electricity and being in a level 3 bushfire area, were some of the challenges of this beautiful site.
Set in an ideal site in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, this bush retreat is self sufficient, being equipped with solar panels and wind generation. The project has virtually become a laboratory of ideas, from the wind generator to the LED lighting inside the house.
The client demanded that the approach not be an exercise in reductionism. There is a dishwasher, pool and proper flushing toilets yet the house is comfortable all year without air conditioning.
The house quite simply consists of a main anchor wall following the site contours, canted steel columns and the containers for the living spaces. This is all protected by two separate double-leaf roofs that 'float' over the living areas and the site, offering generous protection from the elements in a simple double-gesture.
After rotation of the huge entry door, the first of the spectacular views opens before you.
The living and sleeping wings of the house are separated by a covered outdoor area compelling you to appreciate the elements in a form of 'sophisticated camping'.
The linearity of the house reinforces the viewpoints and the experience of the site. Practically, it provides a large thermal mass reducing temperature variation internally and provides fire protection from the most threatening fronts. The masonry elements are constructed in economical split face concrete block.
The pool included to provide relief from the extremes of heat in the warmer months, forms part of the view with its wet edge, allowing it to reflect the expansive sky and landscape.