In this edition:
- Festive Glamour: When the festive season throws you an occasion, you need to glam it up.
- Andrew McUtchen looks for fun in cricket with former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming.
- Take a look at our Christmas Gift Guide.
Hill Plains House, however, returns to basics. Designed by Collingwood-based Wolveridge Architects, the award-winning home celebrates nature in its careful siting and its emphasis on indoor/outdoor living.
The house is an appropriate response to the environment, says Jeremy Wolveridge, the principal architect and the homes owner. Its unmistakeably informed by a barn, which is a Victorian-era, agricultural building that is reasonably low cost and compact.
Modelled on a shed plan, Hill Plains House incorporates essential ecologically sustainable elements such as rainwater capture and storage, concrete slab floors, solar energy panels and passive heating and cooling. And although its made of a low, blackbutt timber, like all new buildings in the Kyneton region it has been built to comply with the states bushfire building regulations.
Its really quite a raw piece of land, says Wolveridge. Its just one of those places you can go to and leave it all behind. You really feel like you can switch off up there and for such an elevated piece of land its very private.
Perhaps the privacy is a result of the unassuming façade. Rich-coloured timber panels with large, timber shutters suggest a robust, fortress-like structure. And the striking sheets of black glass that shield the entry and frame a shower stall, provide an effective contrast.
Inside is a completely different flavour. High ceilings, dark, polished concrete floors, black walls, reclaimed timber wallpaper all represent Wolveridges confidence and understanding of organic materials.
Its the honesty of the materials and the explicitness of construction that won Wolveridge the 2011 Premier Award for Interior Design Excellence and Innovation.
We always wanted the interior to have a connection with the exterior so we consciously chose not to use any domestic products in the house. There are no tiles and no plaster. Its all steel, a bit of mirror, concrete and recycled timbers.
Since its completion and the recent birth of his second child, Wolveridge has been living in Hill Plains House and commuting to Melbourne. He says it has been a great experiment enabling him to discover unique ways to approach sustainability.
We havent had to run the heating for the last two days because there has been such nice sunshine. And at night we have been sitting around in a T-shirt.
I grew up in a 1950s beach house. It was a very interesting building because it was all kinds of different triangular shapes. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer but we loved it all the same.
When young Jeremy was growing up, his father Michael Wolveridge, a well-regarded golf course architect, often took him out to civil construction sites. This enabled him to develop a good understanding of land form, which has particularly assisted his work on coastal
and rural sites where land conditions are often challenging.
Essentially youre always trying to find a really nice connection between the house and site. And through my background, I have a knowledge of things like drainage and how to work slope and contour to your advantage.
In 2000, Wolveridge opened his own practice in a small office in Richmond. The first project, the Richmond Warehouse, still remains one of his favourites.
There were all these problems with its orientation, privacy and heritage, but the clients were this really interesting young couple. So we did a complete refurbishment and fit-out and it looked great.
After completing a string of smaller boutique residences, Wolveridges practice began to expand. Fortunately a 19th-century tannery and boot factory came on the market.
Although it was covered in dust, a result of years of vacancy, Wolveridge could see the original structure was still intact. Baltic pine floors, lofty ceilings with large trusses and wood-framed, Victorian-era windows all provided a wonderful canvas.
While keeping the original shell, Wolveridge successfully merged vintage materials with modernist design. Old floorboards are used as internal wall cladding. Window frames are constructed from recycled oregon and the desks and bookcases are made from a black form ply. Even the studios massive work table is a recycled and modified truck engine packing crate. The result is a stylish, relaxed working environment with a sense of instant history.
With our firm, the main thing is that each project has relevance to where it is, says Wolveridge. As we embark upon larger development projects with bigger pieces of land and a bigger range of problems, this will continue to be the core speciality of our design.
Although Wolveridges connection to the land is uncanny, its the client relationship he values most.
Its evident from his relaxed, approachable manner that his clients value his work.
Architecture is a very long-term process, says Wolveridge. We might be sitting across the table talking about a brief for a project but its going to be two years before we can have a few beers and a barbecue at the new place.
Winning the Premiere Award for Interior Design Excellence and Innovation, the house is a different perspective on the traditional rural Australian home. The jury stated: Use of materials and lighting in the project represent a confident interior design philosophy that achieves regional identity and connection in a fresh and unprecedented way. The jury also praised the projects environmental credentials, noting its discreet incorporation of sustainable design principles without resorting to a traditional eco aesthetic.Tannery and Boot Factory
The interior and exterior successfully blends contemporary fixtures within the existing form. While many original features have been retained, recycled materials and other new elements have been incorporated to create a dynamic and relaxed environment. The project won the Abode magazines 2010 heritage building of the year award and was shortlisted at the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Awards.