The humble farmhouse that is Two Roads House
Tucked away within an undulating rural property in Australia lies a modern farmhouse built to suit a young family and their growing needs.
27 October, 2016
Designed by Aspect Architecture, Two Roads House has been crafted to sit seamlessly within the landscape to maximise the views, while embodying a strong sense of environmental and sustainability.
Perching on the north facing ridge, the design was heavily constrained by the sloping site and exposure to the elements. Rather than hinder the architecture, the engagement with the outdoors is what makes the home so unique.
Connecting to the landscape was a strong focus
The client’s brief was for the home to be nestled into the hillside, nearly 600 meters from the property’s boundary. This not only was the ideal position to take in the land, it also provided complete privacy from both within the property and from neighbouring areas, says architect Matt Cooper.
“The clients were very specific about ensuring that outdoor spaces and connecting landscaping surrounding the house was an extension of the controlled form of the house itself. They also were very strict about utilising a very limited, but honest selection of building materials, in concrete, stone and hardwood.”
As a working farm, Two Roads House was to be designed to complete a programme that included a manager’s residence, cabins, sheds and workshops, tennis court, horse arena and cattle yards.
Matt explains the building’s shape is intended to exploit a long east/west axis that maximised the exposure to the northern sun. Overlooking the Curramore Ranges, the design reflects the hills and valleys of the surrounding site, allowing the building to be immersed and complement the land rather than fight against it.
“It’s broken form allows for cross breezes, while a large protected wrap around verandah to the north means that an outdoor lifestyle can be enjoyed even in times of substantial protracted rains.”
Pavilions open in and out to the elements
The overall design vision was for a series of pavilions that allows for comfortable and flexible living throughout the day and the seasons, says Matt. Separated by simple axes, the spatial arrangement allows for prevailing breezes to move in and out of the home to passive cooling; just one of the many sustainability elements of Two Roads House.
Solar power and hot water, envirocycle sewer system, rainwater storage and grey tint thermal glazing have been incorporated into the design to improve its efficiency now and into the future.
“The thermal mass of concrete floors and stone clad masonry walls soak up sunlight during the day and release warmth during the evening. A generous, covered veranda allows the family to enjoy the indoor, outdoor lifestyle demanded by the Queensland climate. As this region is one of the wettest in the state, the generous covered areas and large living spaces are crucial for a growing family during extended periods of rain.”
A materials palette inspired by New Zealand architecture
Requesting a restrained materials palette, the chosen finishes are honest and reflective of the setting. Polished concrete, stained hardwood timber and natural stone of Alpine granite walling and Buffalo granite were the prevailing materials; a palette originally inspired by the client’s holidays in the South Island of New Zealand.
During the process, close relationships were formed with experienced artisan tradesmen and suppliers to ensure a high level of bespoke finish was achieved. The collaborative effort has resulted in a level of workmanship Matt says is exceptional.
Surrounding the home is four acres of beautifully manicured gardens and lawns. “The home forges a strong connection with its environment through integrated courtyards, gardens and connecting paths”, says Matt.
The well-considered design and thoughtful materials palette has redefined the concept of a working farm property. While ticking the boxes of sustainability and amenities, the success of this project lies within the connection to the outdoor space. From the design of the pavilions to the natural materials and tones, life on the farm looks extremely appealing.
See more of this project and others by Aspect Architecture here.
Photography: Scott Burrows of Aperture.