17.8.2021

D’Entrecastaux House

Bruny Island sits across the narrow D’entrecasteaux Channel which separates it from the Tasmanian mainland. Accessible only by boat, Bruny is a remote and beautiful landscape. 

Our clients, a professional couple, approached us after purchasing the land with a view to building a permanent residence. Our clients were intently aware of the need for the architecture to reconcile the need to orient for light and view, but also provide protection from offshore winds and glare from the expansive water plane. Replete with devastating panoramas, the site was nonetheless exposed.  Winds buffet the angled terrain and the glorious light is at times too demanding for the eyes.

In parallel to this physical need for protection, the remote location brought a psychological need.  The home had to provide a reassuringly solid and contained presence, company for a remote and beautiful existence.  These two factors led to a dialogue about security, permanence and belonging.

The resulting high stone walled outer skin, and a light, taut, timber interior, contain the traditional functions of a home.  These contrasting built elements satisfy both the physical and psychological need that the location demands of the architecture.

The modest house employs an inflected non-orthogonal plan where massive stone walls encompass light timber-lined living spaces.  The black stained timber interior provides relief from the blisteringly bright Tasmanian light, and projects the occupant into the landscape beyond.

Large sliding timber doors open to the northern light and a large deck which overlooks the channel and mountain range beyond.

Service functions are wrapped up in shiny black boxes. The kitchen island bench sits as a crisp blunt monolith. Black bathrooms feature generous skylights and full height tiling. Full width mirrors double the perceived space of these carefully designed interior volumes.

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Bespoke glazing details are used throughout the residence. Double-glazed argon gas   units provide thermal performance commiserate with the cool temperate climate. The house harvests rainwater and recycles wastewater onsite.

D’Entrecasteaux House has a simple pallet, dark within a pale stone exterior.  The orientation of face-fixed bespoke glazing focuses attention upon specific elements of the landscape, providing an opportunity for repose.

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