Case Study – Geologists’ Retreat

Community & Co-design

This elevated site is nestled in bushland and benefits from distant ocean views.  The owners’ brief was for a home where they could work in semi-retirement from academia in the field of geology.  After long careers delving into the surface of the earth it was understandable that their desire was for a building sympathetic to the lay of the land and responsive to the site’s distinctive character.

The design had to address significant environmental constraints and in particular protection from the real threat of bush fire.  Presenting a buffer to the bush needed to be balanced by opening the house to the natural setting and providing solar access.  A practical consideration was the ability to stage the project, with the main living areas and master bedroom suite constructed first, followed by a separate wing containing studies, library and the gallery.  This resulted in the dwelling being constructed in ‘wings’, each with their own identity and scale, linked to the main living pavilion.

The interior design features wooden floors, exposed timber trusses and crafted plywood ceilings complemented by bagged brickwork finished with richly coloured cement based paint.  Raking ceilings with high-level glazing allow natural light to penetrate the home, while providing views through the tree canopy to glimpses of sky.  The satisfied owners now have a retreat that makes the idea of retirement look increasingly attractive!

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