Taroona House
Taroona House

Taroona House holistically embraces the environment.

On a steep and densely forested hill overlooking Hinsby Beach, the site had significant limitations we needed to negotiate while responding to the clients’ brief: they wanted a home that was fully immersed in nature and a studio space for their art practice.

Segmenting the house allows it to expand and contract according to the number and needs of occupants, reducing conditioned floor area and thus reducing energy usage. Cantilevering created openings between the structures and the hillside, offering pathways for local wildlife and a concealed entry for the main house, below the upper floor.

The lower level consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom and a rumpus, while the upper level holds a living room, dining area, kitchen and laundry. The studio contains an art space with a wash area, a bathroom and a guest bedroom. The interior spaces were made with a dark timber palette that amplifies the activity of the bushland surrounding the house and the views to the powerful Derwent River.

The lack of sun on the site meant there was no threat of excessive thermal gain and allowed us to build a house with a complete glass envelope, immersing the occupants in the landscape through constant views of the surrounding bushland.

To achieve this we needed a structural window system to carry the weight of the roof, which wasn’t available on the local market. We decided to develop the solution ourselves and the directors of Archier designed, built and painted every mullion, header and seal in the house, which led to the formation of our architectural prefabrication company, Candour, that uses digital CAD plugins to connect architects to advance timber fabrication through a range of innovative timber building components.

Developing the window system was also the only way to achieve the desired result within the specified budget, and the use of timber and lack of steel in the windows created a more sustainable outcome, removing thermal bridges, complementing the passive house facade system that achieved a six star energy rating. We didn’t install solar panels due to the lack of sunlight, so the electricity comes from the Tasmanian grid, powered by hydroelectricity with no carbon emissions.

Taroona house embraces its environment by overcoming limiting conditions through holistic and industrious architecture. The result balances exposing the occupants to the rugged Tasmanian landscape with the comfort of an innovative and efficient shelter.

Oakover Preston
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