A home that was shaped moulded and inspired by its site
A FAMILY connection between architect and homeowner was the seed from which this award short-listed home grew.
For Topology Studio directors Darren Kaye and Amy Hallett it was a project to take personally.
They are not only proud of the work, they were also thrilled to deliver a home that matched their clients’ dreams.
Darren’s cousin Lance used to live in Broken Hill before relocating to Tasmania for work some years ago.
On the Apple Isle he met his partner Mel and later got married.
The couple bought a block of land at Otago, about 20-minutes north of Hobart and planned to build their dream home, so Darren and Amy — who are based in Melbourne — flew south to talk it over.
The couple’s brief included a desire to embrace their site, to capture key views, make use of robust materials — local if possible — and for the house to be low-maintenance.
“They also wanted a home that would be inspiring to live in,” Darren said.
“Sustainability was also at the core of the design, orientating the building to catch the low winter sun while cutting off the summer heat by a retractable external blind and colonnade.
“Natural ventilation and night purging keep the house at stable temperatures throughout the year.”
Dubbed the “House at Otago Bay’’, Darren said the house feels solid and has a real presence on the riverside property.
He described it as a very permanent piece of architecture that is embedded into the land.
“We were quite conscious of the fact that — hopefully — this house may be here for 200 years, and it will have to withstand the elements coming off of the Derwent River. “The site lends itself to this kind of architecture. The project grew out of and belongs to the site.”
Darren and Amy worked closely with Hobart-based builders and suppliers to achieve the best possible results.
“The building is tailored to the needs of the clients and they were willing to explore how space could be made efficient to reduce the footprint and achieve a quality outcome,” Darren said.
While this approach was focused on the now, it also had an eye to the future.
For future flexibility, Darren said the garage had been designed in a way that transforming it into additional bedrooms would be straight forward.
From the exterior, this two-bedroom house has a distinct look compared to many modern- built homes. A prime example is the bespoke block work that was chosen to tonally match with the site.
This idea was inspired by a walk along the water’s edge, looking at the rocks, colours and patterns.
“We wanted the home to feel like it was built out of this Jurassic dolerite that is part of the site,” Darren said.
“We couldn’t actually build it from dolerite so we looked for materials that would tonally mirror the site.”
Built on a steep block that falls away in two directions — towards the reserve and the water — the architects designed a house that was shaped and moulded out of the site constraints.
While a showcase of refined geometry, the home is also highlighted by the careful selection of materials that produce a home that is textured and warm.
Throughout the interiors the oak joinery and ceiling are combined with polished floors and large framed water and mountain views that provide a strong connection to the surrounds.
On entry into the house the ceiling peels up to Mt Wellington and the ceiling and a side wall open to reveal an expanding view as the owner’s walk from the corridor into their living area.
Darren said the idea of the living area was to draw the water close, to capture a sense of being perched on the river’s edge.
“It feels like the water is lapping up to the window,” he said.
The House at Otago Bay was built by Cave Constructions.
It has been short-listed in the Residential — New category of this year’s Tasmanian Architecture Awards presented by the Tasmanian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.
The awards presentation will be held on July 6.