This simple dwelling offers a restful environment and is the cornerstone of a young Queensland family’s life
Designed by: Robinson Architects
Location: Eumundi, QLD
Year Completed: 2017
Photography: Nic Granleese
Simplicity is the hallmark of this design and it can be seen in its use of space, material selection and connection to the environment. Named after the majestic Queenslander house that once occupied the site, and home to a young family, Avonlea stands on a commanding elevated hillside location in the centre of the market town of Eumundi.
The old Queenslander house burnt down 10 years ago and given the site’s unique central location and grand size (five acres), it was sold with an approved Development Application for a six-lot subdivision. Having purchased the vacant land, the new owners approached architect Jolyon Robinson of Robinson Architects to design their new family house. This proved to be a project close to Jolyon’s heart as the old house had been his childhood home.
After much consideration, the owners decided to sell three of the six lots, build on one and use the other two for their garden. The three blocks were sold privately to independent buyers, the only proviso being that Robinson Architects had to design the homes that would be built on them. Each is of modest size and budget and displays a sensitivity to the immediate built environment and character of the town.
The brief for the owners’ new house was simple — they wanted a long-term family home. A bedroom was located close to the master bedroom for their young son to use right now but with an eye on the future, a guest bedroom was located at the other end of the house. This has its own access to the outside and will become his bedroom when he gets older.
The bedrooms bookend the central living space and are connected by a single hallway. Careful planning has avoided wasted space with storage cupboards, a pantry and more feeding off this axis. The layout provides opportunities for either closeness or separation and the long linear floor plan is orientated at right angles to the top of Cooroy Mountain which sits to the north.
The Eumundi district’s distinctive red earth is showcased in the rammed earth walls on the southern side of the house — these also act as a buffer to the noise of the nearby primary school and market traffic. A pitched steel roof made of Zincalume Spandek shades the building and offers a contrast to the natural elements of the rammed earth. Steel was also the main structural material used. Exposed structural steel, boasting a smart black powder-coat finish, can be seen inside the home and out.
Passive design principles were employed, ranging from the use of operable windows to capture cooling cross ventilating breezes to building orientation — with limited exposure to east and west, the house is oriented to the north and shaded by large eaves. In addition, all rooms enjoy views of the ever-changing mountain vista.
In designing the house, which was built by Duncan Squires Building, both client and architect took great pleasure in ensuring the continuation of the long history
of people living in a house on the site. They also drew great satisfaction from collaborating on a house that would stand the test of time.
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