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Architecture: Linear House

August 4, 2011

A linear, timber-clad volume in Portsea designed by Architects EAT, featuring layers of weathered and stained timber to ground the home to its local context.

Linear House is conceived as a linear timber pavilion with a double-storey concrete block spine that runs parallel through the site. Positioned on a slight hill, the site plays a significant role within its local context. The exterior of the building is encased in horizontally clad spotted gum, which is both ship-lap and battened together to form operable screens. The screens provide the house with natural shelter from the direct sun while still allowing light to flow effortlessly into the internal spaces. Because of the natural qualities of the timber, the building forms an immediate relationship with the local terrain – giving the house a strong sense of belonging.

The main entrance is completely clad in spotted gum, and has been deliberately set back from the front elevation, withdrawing it from the direct climatic elements. The unexposed timber remains warm and rich in colour, contrasting the exposed timber that becomes grey and weathered. This detail draws on the natural character of timber to evoke a feeling of warmth in the inner domain, while contrasting the exterior and linking it to the toughness of the Australian landscape.

This internal and external motif is continued throughout the interior with all the spotted gum oiled and stained to induce hospitality and character. The ship-lap cladding flows from the outer skin, wrapping its way onto the internal walls and ceiling – a gesture used to bring the exterior into the interior. The spotted gum floor of the breezeway is a tongue and groove system that has been secret-nailed and stained in a gloss finish, reflecting the sky on the floor and continuing the interplay between internal and external spaces.

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