Page D1.2 . 11 April 2007                     
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    House on Red Hill

    continued

    Environmental Design

    If you ask Botterill to describe the style of the house, he is quick to explain that he and Harty don't put a strong emphasis on style. He admits Red Hill could be compared to mid-20th-century architecture. Rather than "minimalist," they refer to their work on Red Hill as "restrained." They consider the house a piece of modern design that conforms to many traditional guidelines of architecture.

    The architects were keen to incorporate their passion and training in sustainable approaches without applying a typical "green aesthetic." Nonetheless, the house responds to its site, according to Botterill, through "views, solar access, and materiality." The roof serves a second purpose by collecting precious water in storage tanks.

    The five-bedroom Red Hill Residence sits on the property's ridge, and the glazed facades are oriented to sun and views. A striking red glass window acts as a beacon at the entrance; it creates a laser-beam-like pin stripe tracking the afternoon sun through the living area.

    Once inside, the visitor is treated to breathtaking sights of the arcadian valley below. The master bedroom boasts a vista to Bass Straight, which separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland.

    The landscaping was also designed with environment sensitivity. The arid site was intentionally pared back to respect the native flora of brush and wildflowers, according to Botterill.

    Earthen Material, High-Tech Processes

    The house is constructed of local materials, including rammed earth and ship-lapped cedar paneling. Rammed earth was used in ancient construction, and today 1000-year-old examples still stand. The long, low rammed-earth wall of Red Hill presents a solid public face and helps to protect the house from the western sun. At night, lighting intensifies the rich textures of the natural materials.

    Harty explains: "The textures and materials were selected to age gracefully, forming a patina to mimic the color of the surrounding bush with crisp highlights of stark white and dynamic flashes of red that are anything but muted. The orientation captures the morning light and protects from the harsh afternoon summer sun while taking in the beautiful valley and coastal views."

    The natural materials contribute to a sense of warmth and structural cohesiveness. But there are also touches of technology to confirm the house's modernity. For instance, the backsplash in the kitchen is "specially laminated glass with a digital print interlayer," Botterill explains. "The electronic artwork is prepared in Australia, and sent to the United States [for production]. The interlayer is then sent back to Australia, laminated, and installed."   >>>

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    Red Hill Residence, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia, by Christopherchris Architecture.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Rammed earth walls.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Valley-facing elevation.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Laser-like beams of light through the main living area.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Open-plan flow between kitchen and living area.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Dining area and kitchen.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Open-plan flow between kitchen and living area.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

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    Cedar-paneled wall extends from inside to out.
    Photo: © Peter Bennetts

     

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