Blow Me Down
The site represented a opportunity to design a house which really engaged with the landscape, and in particular making visible one transient part of it which is very powerful in this particular place… the wind. The site for is an exposed hillside overlooking other gently rolling dales that form the base of Tamar Valley but it is thus very open to all the severe winds that often sweep down from Bass Strait. At these times, it is in fact difficult to even stand up without being blown over, and the house is in such a place is response to the wind, both literally and stylistically.
There are two living rooms, the first an enclosed interior for when people need to be separate from the elements (containing a skylight and large central slow combustion stove) and the second, an open space, where there is one complete glass wall to the expansive views. The roof of the open space is a curved wing, which thrusts itself out against the prevailing gales.
It is held down by a rear concrete block wall which also acts as high thermal mass. The extension of the roof was calculated to completely screen the glass wall in summer yet allow maximum sun penetration in winter. Linked with a quarry tile paved concrete slab floor, this space forms the passive solar heating element for the whole house. Floor slabs are insulated from the surrounding earth and the whole interior is warm in winter and cool in summer.
But the overriding interest was achieving an appropriate poetic expression of the landscape and the forces of nature. Passive solar houses do not need to be uptight and boring.
The place is a testimony to clients who generousness allowed such a design to be evolved, and the final results speak for themselves. The name was given to their home by the clients. It says it all.
National Green Guide Residences Exemplary Design Case Study
AR Australia Residential 2000