The Buxton house is a bush retreat getaway set on a 20 hectare property overlooking the Black Range State Forest 100km north east of Melbourne. Designed by Format Architects, the house is defined by its large and deep overhanging roof designed to offer shade and protection from the elements. The plan is arranged around a glass walled open plan living and dining area facing north, a rendered masonry walled sleeping zone to the south and outdoor areas defined by the cantilevered roof to the east and west.
The roof is constructed of a grid of deep laminated veneer lumber beams exposed and expressed in the ceiling. The simple order, restrained detailing and a palette of warm internal materials including polished plaster walls, plywood ceilings and exposed aggregate concrete floors lends this house a calm and relaxed feel.
The house features internal and external natural lime hard plaster walls with a rendered finish to create a unique, smooth and slightly imperfect patina that suits the simplicity of the house design and reflects the beauty of the natural landscape. When the light hits the wall surface it reflects to convey an intense tactile quality. The range of materials were kept to a minimum, there’s an absence of minor material and extraneous detail hopefully lending a sense of calm and well being to the house. Naturally sealed timber windows and joinery including sustainably sourced plywood ceiling panels, exposed and laminated timber beams, cast on site concrete floors with locally sourced river rock aggregate and sand.
The entire design revolves around the idea of simple living. The studio enjoyed integrating some informal ideas: for example, the utilitarian kitchen is designed like a traditional farmhouse kitchen where family activity and kitchen work are integrated in one big room with a huge dining table in the middle. This open spatial arrangement is followed through in the detailing where open and continuous cantilevered wall shelves allow a single wall finish to flow uninterrupted throughout the entire living space. Spatial continuity and continuity of surface is a key design feature of this house as it lends a quiet unity and calm.
Photos – Ernesto Arriagada