Story by Trends Publishing
Photography by David Sandison
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This home is made up of diverse individual spaces, their composition reflected externally by a curving, multifaceted exterior
An architect designing a new home needs to consider a series of interactions. Firstly, the exterior has to sit well with the environment it inhabits; secondly, the interior layout should address how family members interact. Thirdly, there is the aesthetic interaction between the various materials and spacial volumes that make up the home.
The location, materials and the family dynamic were all given close attention, when architect Glen Jones designed the large family home shown on these pages.
"The owners wanted something out of the ordinary – not a box-shape – but rather a large, articulated family home that attracted the sun from various angles and elevations," says Jones. "But first and foremost, they appreciated my personal approach to architectural space, and that is why I was handed the brief."
The architect's concepts on the psychology of interrelated spaces are built into the finished home.
"Families consist of individuals, but grouped together they form a working whole, and to some extent that is reflected in my houses," says Jones. "This house, as an obvious example, consists of various individual living spaces grouped together under one unifying skin."
The three storey home consists of a middle level made up of open-plan living spaces, with the upper floor devoted to a master bedroom and the lower level comprising children's bedrooms and a family room. A central stairwell connects the spaces and provides a point of focus.
"In a sense, the middle floor is a public area used by all members of the family and visitors, while the upper and lower floors are private family spaces," says the architect.
Beyond zoning for children, the family together, and parents, the individual bedrooms provide absolute privacy.
"In fact the master bedroom is so private, it is only accessed via a suspended walkway across the central void," says Jones. "Dividing the home's interior into these designated areas creates a frictionless family dynamic."
Given the relaxed, building-block nature of many of the spaces, the central void plays an important role in drawing the interior together. Architectural detailing was carefully considered to accentuate the void's height and verticality.
"Small bulkheads run around the edges of the void," says Jones. "Protruding below the ceiling line at each level, these intimate the vertical nature of the space."
As the apportioning of space reflects family interactions, so, too, does the choice of materials reflect the family's essence.
"We chose strong, earthy materials on the exterior of the home because they are appropriate to the occupants," says Jones.
The down-to-earth materials comprise rough-sawn plywood, natural finish blockwork and fibre cement – these are also light weight, important given the steep hillside location.
"The other predominating material is glass," says Jones. "Decking and extensive glazing were both given high priorities."
Built into a hillside crevice, the house doesn't obstruct the view from the street above. The coarse materials further help the house blend into its rugged setting.
"The home's exterior reflects the articulated cubes beneath," says Jones. "The resulting series of angles and planes help the home find harmony with its immediate surroundings."
Breaking the overall form down into facets means an onlooker is never faced with a single imposing mass. Instead, the house resembles a multifaceted rock formation, appearing as a succession of light and shadow plays from the distance.
First published date: 18 August 2006
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