Minimal Impact House

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Minimal Impact House
Photos © JLDesign
Minimal Impact House

The design brief calls for a vacation house on Phillip Island, VIC (AUS), with a sweeping view of the southern ocean of the Bass Strait. One important criteria in the client's program brief was to design a 2-story house which minimizes its presence on the natural terrain as much as possible. The wedge-shaped profile of the house, partially excavated into the sandstone promontory of the site, is therefore formed to respond to the natural beauty of the site. The house features a faceted and landscaped green roof which further minimizes the physical and visual impact of building’s footprint on the site— the stealth-like, low profile of the house resembles a natural berm on the landscape. The approach towards the house therefore simply reveals the silhouette of a turfed berm surrounded by a cluster of eucalyptus trees with the horizon of the southern ocean beyond. 

Diverging vertical and horizontal planes in the house further exaggerates the perspectival effect of the spaces towards the views beyond, creating a funnel-like space which directs one's gaze towards the views beyond. The lower level of the house extends the ground plane towards the horizon via a courtyard with a lap pool and bench seating with an outdoor hearth. The infinity-edged lap pool, dimensioned exactly to the width of the house, serves to mirror the sky and “visually connects” the pool with the oceanfront horizon. The deep end of the interior spaces of the lower floor are connected to a pair of Canons de lumières which  flood the sloped, in-situ concrete walls with natural light during the day.