Nestled in a quaint coastal-suburban community, a young family sought the expertise of Eastop Architects to craft a serene abode, a true home that would seamlessly blend with the idyllic landscape.
The site was challenging, with a valley running through the center and neighboring properties on its northern and southern boundaries. The architects responded by creating a lightweight single-level volume that "floats" through the valley, stitched into the landscape with a series of rendered blade walls. These walls create internal landscaped courtyards and a layered sense of privacy.
The architects carefully controlled and manipulated perception to enhance the sense of possibility in the home. They used materials to confound assumptions and directed lines of sight to question boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. Corridors and transition spaces were designed as opportunities to subvert expectations around the articulation of light and view.
The use of contrast and containment played a significant role in the design. The contrast between the dark black volume and the openness of the carport with its pale rendered walls created a sense of containment. The walls simultaneously defined and obscured the perimeter, revealing glimpses of the dune-like landscape beyond.The principal courtyard is a space that contains and is itself contained by the landscape. The high blade walls are joined by lower retaining walls that act as terraces over which soft grasses spill.
Moving from the front entry into the building, it becomes apparent that the masonry walls make incursions into the seemingly defined and self-contained rectilinear volume. The entry sequence takes place through an interstitial space that feels neither wholly interior nor wholly exterior, before reaching the front door into a passageway flanked by a wall of dark timber on one side and masonry on the other.
The central space opens onto the primary courtyard and features a table of welded steel designed by Eastop. Beyond the table, a wall of minimalist joinery is revealed to be simply a wall of cement sheeting. A hidden door leads to the pantry, a functional back-of-house area that allows the main space to maintain a sense of purity. A wall of smoked mirrors behind the cooktop manipulates the experience of space and light, reflecting the landscape opposite and drawing it into the internal condition.
Despite its modest footprint, the home is a testament to Eastop Architects' understanding of architecture as an approach to networks of relationships that encompass the built and the natural, the tangible and the intangible alike.