Jackie and Richard Dargaville approached Edition Office to design a house for their retirement and narrow Gippsland, Victoria, block. Their top priorities were sustainability, comfort and flexibility of program, so they asked for a house with a small footprint to shield them from the strong winds, which can whistle across the surrounding farmlands, and mute traffic noise from the nearby busy road. This had to be achieved without interrupting spectacular views to Wilsons Promontory National Park, which made their property so attractive in the first place.
Flexibility of design was also necessary to accommodate future changes in mobility, and visiting extended family, when needed.
Edition Office solved the brief’s binary challenges – enhancing both comfort and landscape experience in an exposed setting, and providing mod-cons, contemporary style and sustainability on a modest budget – through a single-level plan comprised of three skewed, black-stained pavilions on a North-South axis. The pavilions were separated by courtyards and wrapped, on all but one side, by a solid brick wall, ensuring both privacy and protection from wind and noise.
The well-oriented, modular program also allows easy movement through its volumes, which are easily penetrated by northern light, warmth and breezes. Any pavilions that are not in use can be easily closed up. Rainwater capture, a hydronically heated slab, onsite waste processing, solar photovoltaic electricity, and the option of wood fire heating, are other sustainable features that also enhance comfort.
From a distance, Fish Creek House presents as a dense, singular, rectangular form; monochromatic and anchored in the landscape. But as one approaches, the earthy, tactile qualities of the protective wall come into focus: its alternating perforated and solid sections made from recycled bricks, all thickly and messily troweled. Clean geometry married with the perfect imperfection of, what looks like, artisanal craftsmanship make for a surprising and tactile elegance up close; and nod to late modernism from afar.
Fine and curvaceous outdoor furniture from Tait’s Tidal collection, in black, powder-coated stainless steel and smoked glass, work well as softening contrasts to the austere architectural form.
So it is unsurprising that Edition Office’s solution to significant site and brief challenges has been recognised with every significant architectural award to date in 2017, including the Victorian Architect’s Institute Residential Award and Houses New House Award.
Edition Office edition-office.com
Dissection Information Recycled brickwork walls with custom mortar joint Silvertop Ash cladding with black stain High Feature Silvertop Ash wall lining boards Black film faced birch ply ceiling from MaxiPly Blackbutt timber veneer Devonshire hand made kitchen tiles from Bespoke Ceramics Matt white 100x200 Vogue tiles form Classic Ceramics Gold ‘Brahma’ dining pendant, small, from Living Edge Black AJ4 Wall Sconce from Great Dane Black Gemini track and surface mounted spot lights from Masson for Light 900CH Esse wood fired range cooker and hydronic boiler Fisher & Paykel Induction Cooktop Fisher & Paykel integrated dish drawer Electrolux integrated fridge Neptune sink from Franke Water Jewels Vitra washbasin form Rogerseller Zero 50 washbasin from Rogerseller Roca Freestanding bath from Rheece Astra Walker Icon tapware Custom Blackwood robe hooks, door and joinery pulls form Interia Custom steel door pulls form Like Butter View 8 wood fired stove from Stovax