Samford House 2

This project looks to addressing the question of how to fit a large house into a semi-rural landscape without destroying the qualities of the site that attracted the owners in the first place. The sloping site affords elevated views to the north over a treed valley and west to a mountain range.

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In contrast to the predominate suburban ‘cut and fill’ approach to the ground, the strategy pursued was to cut into the hill only, with the house acting as a retaining wall. The ground then is reconfigured as a base on which to site the house – instead of the European notion of a house/villa as a dominating ‘temple in the landscape,’ the idea is to make a lightweight sub-tropical pavilion perched on a solid base – an occupied ruin. This tripartite division of base/pavilion/roof is effective in breaking down the scale of the house – the large roof with its fine edge hovers over the whole with its shadow reinforced by the use of dark colours to the pavilion. A series of timber baskets clipped to the outside of the pavilion and semi-enclosing the jutting out peninsula room reinforce the lightweight nature of the pavilion and offer a warmth and richness.

The narrative of the entry sequence amplifies the experience of the landscape. Moving up beside a double height glazed stairwall beneath the large canopy of the roof you arrive at a rear courtyard carved out between the house and hill. From here you turn and enter the house proper and continue to the peninsula outdoor room from where you gain the prospect of the bucolic landscape and mountains beyond. The linear plan of the house strings the principal rooms together along the east –west axis to take advantage of the northern views and aspect, with the public rooms at the centre of the house and private spaces at either end. The single room depth for the majority of the rooms affords excellent cross-ventilation. Gathered around a hidden central courtyard behind the living room are the more intimate spaces of the teppanyaki room and bar.

The combination of slab-on-ground construction, high ceilings with high level windows, good solar access control and good cross ventilation provides a high level of passive thermal comfort in summer and winter.


Samford, QLD