The clients had previously stayed in the Sojourn cabins and had enjoyed the simplicity of the architectural program - essentially a room based on a grid of 3200 mm (measured to fit on the back of a truck) that opened out to a deck at one end and had a central service core separating the living space from the bedroom. Inspired by this, the couple contacted Studio Internationale and commissioned a home of their own in neighbouring Fox ground.
Initially, the design process involved master planning the entire property and the siting of the building. There were also extensive ground works to consider, including a new road, levelling the site and softening a severe cutting to create a site on which the house could be built. Associated site services included a 100,000 litre rainwater tank, a bio-septic waste water system with irrigation and more than 200 metres of electrical and telephone wiring below ground.
For the house itself, pre-designed modules have been configured as an L-shaped building, creating a wing for living and one for sleeping. The living pavilion is open plan with a service core separating the entry area from the lounge and dining zones. The core is clad in black zinc and conceals a generous walk-in pantry and cool room. The inserted Bulthaup island and rangehood is the only exposed kitchen element in the room.
The "bones" of the modular system are easily read as one move through the interior because all the steel columns have been painted a dark hue. The repetition of these elements against the white walls creates a rhythm and sense of order throughout the house, emphasising the modular concept. Shadow lines across the ceiling indicate where the beams are concealed within the roof space. The simplicity of the space allows the architecture to dissolve, so the furniture and other objects become the primary focus in the room. The fireplace deserves a special mention. This telescopic unit imported from France is suspended from the ceiling and forms a striking sculptural element.
Moving through the sleeping pavilion, one gets a clear understanding of the modular system and its adaptability. The main bedroom and ensuite are separated from the two guest bedrooms by deck spaces which form voids within the frame, allowing views to be captured through the building.
The L shape of the house defines a garden that overlooks a wide, verdant valley and beyond to the Great Dividing Range. The garden has been surfaced with a carpet of thick, leafy buffalo lawn. A 25-metre lap pool bisects the lush garden and reaches out towards the valley, dissolving into a meniscus edge.
The use of materials throughout the house is quite monolithic and matches the grandeur of the surrounding natural landscape. There is an absence of the more traditional domestic encumbrances such as skirtings and architraves. Colour-backed glass walls line the bathrooms, a wall of leather doubles as a bed head, while the wet areas - including the pool- are unified through the use of oversized elongated stone tiles imported from Brazil and cut to fit the grid.