The Hunter Valley House origins lay in the owners desire for ʻan interesting roofʼ and to see Barrington Tops Mountain Range from their offices at a second level. The architecture addresses the transition from 1 to 2 storeys, passive solar design, water collection and the building program in a single gesture. The scale is lowered and the roof can protect from the South, open up to the North and shut down to the West in a single form.
The rammed earth is sourced locally to reflect the unique geology and together with NSW recycled and state forest hardwood aims to keep embodied energy low(close to 0.5MJ/Kg)The house collects itʼs own water and makes itʼs own electricity. Orientation means little added heating and a 600mm thermal mass spine wall assists to reduce temperature fluctuation in summer and winter.
Practically the roof is a rectangle that has been pushed in at the ends to pop up in the middle, so it is a 2 dimensional plane and is achievable with traditional rafters, battens and corrugated sheeting. The resulting walls in plan curve and pull the West end of the house toward the North East solar orientation and views. Computer modelling mimicked 1 to 5 measured scale models to ensure the complex transition of sine curves of sprung bent model material translated. The builder could be given set heights along the North and south facades to pitch rafters which then resulted in the form.
The architecture is derived from many influences but notably the organic tradition and ʻPlastic integrityʼ derived in the post war modernist period of the 1950ʼs. There is a conscious effort to achieve dynamic interior spaces and passive solar objectives simultaneously. The project steps down the site in itʼs long section creating a split level under the floating roof to minimising earth works and maximise North light. The split level runs out to the North at the kitchen bench height and establishes the Northern terraces at both levels.