Architects: Robinson Architects
Project: Avonlea House
Location: Eumundi, Australia
Photographs: Nic Granleese
Simplicity resonates through the design in its connection to environment, material selection and spacial planning. Named after the majestic Queensland house that once occupied the site, Avonlea was designed and built for a young family and stands on a commanding elevated hillside site in the centre of the market town of Eumundi.
The old Queensland house burnt down 9 years ago. The site which was unique given is central location and size (5 acres) was sold with an approved DA for a six lot subdivision. The new owners of the vacant land approached Jolyon to design the new house. Considerable thought was given to how the subdivision was to be handled given its impact on the town. It was decided to sell off just 3 of the 6 lots, build on one and retain the other 2 for garden. We saw this as a one off opportunity to get some quality buildings in such a prominent location in town. The blocks were sold privately to independent buyers coming directly through Robinson Architects office. The only condition was that RA would design the buildings. All are modest in terms of size and budget and show a sensitivity to the immediate built environment and character of the town. Jolyon had a keen interest in the future of the site, not only for its impact on the town (our practice located in Eumundi) but the old house had once been the family home when he and his brothers were boys.
The brief for the new house was simple- it would be their family home for the long term. Planning for the future was important with their young son in a bedroom close to the master for now. The guest bedroom at the other end of the Avonlea house with its own access to the outside will become his bedroom when he gets older.
The future house was imagined by both client and architect to be a continuation of the long history of people living in a house on the site, and that the new Avonlea house would stand the test of time both architecturally and quality of workmanship.
The bedrooms bookend the central living space and are connected by a single hallway. Careful planning has avoided wasted space with storage cupboards, pantry etc. feeding off this axis. The layout provides opportunities for closeness or separation in the arrangement of bedrooms to accommodate the family dynamic. The long linear plan is orientated at right angles to the top of Cooroy Mountain to the north. All rooms enjoy views to the ever-changing mountain vista and cooling cross ventilating breezes
The Eumundi district’s distinctive red earth is showcased in the rammed earth walls on the southern side of the long linear structure that also act as a buffer to the noise of the nearby primary school and market traffic. A razor thin steel roof with large eaves shade the building and offers a contrast to the natural elements of the rammed earth.