The Fish-Creek house is contained within the singular gesture of a long, highly textured wall, which closely wraps three nested, black timber pavilions like a rough and coarse blanket; offering shelter while they sit upon the lowered wall and gaze out upon the undulating and extraordinary landscape that surrounds them.
The house sits firmly along a winding ridgeline near the small township of Fish Creek. Although the site is positioned within an expansive rural setting, the property itself is a slender piece of land heavily exposed to a nearby road and yet gave the owners access to expansive views of the local farmland and coastline to the east. This set of conditions lead to the formation of a long linear building with great transparency to the east, drawing the views, horizon and drifting sunlight into the home while firmly anchoring its position with a strong protective wall to the west.
In responding to an Australian landscape condition we see it as vital that a conversation or an emotional dialogue emerge between house, landscape and the occupier. In this regard, the house has been intentionally designed to appear as both dissonant to its site, and entirely sympathetic to it. This relationship of apparent friction between the house and its site allows for a gap to emerge between the known and unknown characteristics of that place. Establishing an initial contrast of high solidity with the landscape, the house appears first as monument, and as foreign to its surroundings. Upon closer inspection however the robustly solid yet soft and textured walls of the home anchor the building to the site in a manner far stronger than their mass alone; it’s earthen qualities more attuned to the considered grace and deep humility of both the surrounding landscape and local community and which has become one of it’s key defining characteristics.
The walls and pavilions within, direct and frame particular aspects of the site, both distant and proximate, establishing a very particular relationship with place, amplifying certain characteristics. The blunt monumentality is broken down once within the home, the spatial planning and detail establishing a sensitivity to life and to living within this particular context.
In a response to the conditions of the site, the house is oriented along a north-west axis. It is given strong protection from the western sun via the protective wall. Three independent pavilions with voids either side allow for a direct northern exposure to all living spaces and to passively heat the concrete slab floor. The course masonry wall protects the house from the harsh winds of the region and yet allows for deep and effective cross flow ventilation. A large sliding screen, designed with just the right porosity to fragment the heavy winds of the area gives additional protection to the large northern courtyard when required.