Located in rural Victoria, the architect-designed modular home, Bonnie Doon House, offers a high level of comfort and sustainability
Designed by: Archiblox
Location: Bonnie Doon, Vic
Year Completed: 2018
Photography: Tom Ross
Perched on a large parcel of farmland in the heart of country Victoria and surrounded by light bush and rolling fields, Bonnie Doon House is so fair dinkum it makes the Southern Cross weak at the celestial knees.
After the removal of an existing portable cabin on the property 200km north-east of Melbourne, prefabrication and modular architecture and building firm Archiblox, under the direction of founder and director Bill McCorkell, came on board to fulfil the clients’ brief that called for a family home destined to stand the test of time.
Intended as a place where current and future generations can gather and enjoy the countryside, the four-bedroom home is serviced by a 40,000L rainwater tank and uses passive design principles to ensure the structure is respectful of its environmental footprint. In fact, it employs a raft of carefully considered sustainable, eco-friendly elements, ranging from low VOC paints to water-efficient fixtures and high-grade insulation to the walls, floor and ceiling.
“The home is low in embodied energy and its impact on the natural surrounds is minimal,” says Christine McCorkell, Archiblox architect. “The damage to the site or any negative impacts upon local biodiversity were minimised through using our prefabrication model.”
The design encourages congregation in the large open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, which leads directly to the Tasmanian oak deck, where the owners enjoy a gin and tonic while savouring the scenery and spotting wildlife. The kitchen is fitted with a reconstituted stone benchtop in Verona Mist from Laminex, and cabinets in Dulux routed two-pack board in Black Caviar (matt).
“Placement and orientation of the home was key,” adds Bill. Views of the setting sun infiltrate the bedrooms and living zones, while the bathroom window frames stunning country scenery. These views are particularly striking during “golden hour”, that magic time just before sunset when a warm glow of gold and burnt-orange tones descend on the landscape to illuminate the countryside as far as the eye can see.
A private dam cools the site; during summer the winds that sweep across the man-made body of water drive welcome breezes across the deck, filtering through the double-glazed windows and into the house. More than just a convenient cooling mechanism, the dam is a captivating feature with meditative powers that draw the eye and soothe the soul.
The surrounding rural landscape inspired both the layout of the dwelling and the materiality of the built structure. This is evident when appraising the extensive timber decking and internal Tasmanian oak flooring. “This project makes a feature of using sustainably sourced Australian timbers,” muses Christine. “The Victorian ash board and batten cladding and Tasmanian oak decking will naturally weather with time, silvering off to create a rusticated effect.” The heavy use of timber is juxtaposed with Colorbond corrugated sheet cladding, which itself references the rural locale, installed on the vertical, fostering a successful contrast of texture and material.
Bonnie Doon House is a triple treat: it has tranquil views; a sustainable and modular design; and it scores a perfect 10 in terms of liveability and longevity. What’s more, it is iconically Australian, reflecting the unique beauty of the landscape and the design expertise of Archiblox, a company that prides itself on building beautiful, carbon-positive homes.
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