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Croft House

September 4, 2013

Located on Victoria’s south east coast, the low, curved form of this rural residence by James Stockwell Architect explores how a residence might live in harmony with the natural environment.

If the elements of rain, sun and wind could generate an architecture, what would it look like? Located on the south coast of Victoria near Inverloch, this house forms a protected garden from which peripheral vision of the sea and sky is permitted by tapered facades.

Briefed to deliver a house with full outlook to, and shelter from, the coastal vistas in all directions – and one that nestled into the landscape – the house explores how a residence might live in harmony with the natural environment. The curving form of the architecture features both concave and convex roof structures – two-dimensional planes that have been constructed from conventional battens, rafters and corrugated metal.

A robust and embracing design, this house examines the idea of shelter in an exposed environment, containing all of the necessary activities of domestic life. Corrugated iron is used to reinforce the notion of a rural, rugged shelter – a grey palette that blends with the muted shale present in the area. The interior structure and joinery, meanwhile, uses Victorian ash timber, while wet areas are clad in locally sourced bluestone.

The building tells a story of place and the vernacular of local craftsmanship and materials. More broadly, the house also illustrates the sustainability of locally sourced materials with low embodied energy.

The protective exterior is warmed internally by compressed sand thermal mass walls. Double glazing, isolated thermal mass and passive solar design minimise running costs.

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