Off Grid House is a celebration of family, and timber.
Following the sale of a farm that existed within their family for multiple generations, our clients had been disunited from the place they had long called home. When a neighbouring property later came up for sale, they seized the opportunity to reconnect their family to a cherished and untamed landscape. These events underpinned the brief: the off-grid house must celebrate the landscape and nurture an extended family.
Traditionally, families from this area gathered at the church, so the structure relates to the volumes of a civic meeting place. The gables on each side ensure the views from the house capture the full aspect of the landscape, from the creek at the bottom of the valley to the ridgeline of the surrounding mountains.
The large vertical expanse of the gables creates an open connection between the upstairs rumpus room and the downstairs living area.
The bunk area connected to the rumpus serves to create a quasi-public sleeping area – supporting the requirement for the house to sleep 12, and providing childlike fun, event for adults. The downstairs bedrooms support the functions of the immediate family, the bathrooms are tucked away for privacy and on the upper floor, a bath is positioned by a large window to create an intimate space to contemplate the landscape and life.
The origami roofline seeks to reflect the topography of the surrounding environment; its colour mimicking the tones of the mountain rocks and the creek.
This project champions Australian hardwood. Exposed rafters create a rich ornamentation, and textural use of timber achieves a rich aesthetic experience despite a restrained palette. The glue-laminated timber, sustainably produced from the same species of trees found on the land, connects the internal with the external and enhances the dwelling’s overall efficiency.
The building was engineered and designed to be structurally restrained to use the smallest amount of material. The design process relied on all parties being aligned and focused. The builder was particularly dedicated, sleeping onsite in a swag and forming a relationship with the land that inspired some niche features.
The clients were heavily collaborative, personally making many of the house’ details including ceramic basins, wall lights and kitchen tiles by her; the external cladding and a custom flue for the chimney by he, a dormant electrical engineer who also ensured the house exists off-grid via a solar array connecting to a 40KW battery. Water is sourced through rain water tanks and a natural spring. Their involvement in the process has yielded significant value: practically through reducing cost, but more so by bestowing a familial storyline to many moments within the home, to be upheld by subsequent generations.