Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City

Project: Breakneck Gorge Oikos
Architects: Robert Nichol & sons
Lead Architects: Brett Robertson, David Nicholson
Location: Elevated Plains, Australia
Area 70.0 m2
Project Year 2018
Photographer: Jack Lovel

Robert Nichol & sons was engaged by the owners to design a short-term residential building to complement their existing suite of buildings on site, which consists of homestead, another short-term rental, and agricultural outbuildings. These clients had engaged architects with the previous builds, so in their mind this would not be a standard domestic outcome.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 1

The site is one of the most beautiful, spectacular, and highly visible in the area and as such, we knew our design had to respect and connect with this stunning location. This region has a plethora of available short-term stays but given the unique potential this site offered, connection to the landscape was critical.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 2

There was also a need for privacy toward the homestead – that guests and owners would each not be aware of the other’s presence so as to enjoy dual occupancy with limited physical interaction and we also looked at the strongest viewpoints, so that the best vistas were achieved while sheltering views back to the homestead.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 3

The decision was made very early on to remove any dedicated circulation space, instead adopting a simple sequence of arrival into the open plan living, transitioning through the dressing and bathing zone and finally into the bedroom. This enabled a tight layout of 70sq/m to present as a series of interesting volumes, each with a strong identity, discovered as one moves through the space.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 4

Because of the site’s exposure to the weathering elements our clients wanted a building that didn’t require ongoing external maintenance, so we then started to explore the various cladding options available. The final outcome for this was very site driven and by our desire to ensure the design would work with the land, not against it. We decided the material for all facets would be the same, as opposed to separate wall and roof finishes, so that the dwelling took on an object quality, like a folded piece of sculpture. Corten was finally selected for its aesthetic appeal and ability to blend and for its quality to evolve and change with time and season.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 5

The builder, metal fabricator and the installer were engaged during the designing phase, which was critical to achieving a refined finish technical issues. We broke the roof into two forms, creating multiple ridges and a valley not unlike the distant hills – this introduced more angles for the cladding to express itself.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 7

The resultant form evolved to lift itself as the ground fell away – to counteract this float we developed a long solid masonry wall, of handmade dark bricks, to create a solid anchoring device that grounds the folded form and acts as a counterpoint to the corten finish.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 6

The Breakneck Gorge Oikos project successfully met all the clients’ expectations and more – they look out to a sculptured mix of corten form and long masonry blade, which reads neatly as a connection to the landscape rather than an inhabited space. Meanwhile, visitors enjoy spectacular framed views from the carefully placed and shaped windows and a level of internal amenity rarely offered on the market.

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 8

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 10

Breakneck Gorge Oikos Designed as an Indulgent Retreat from the City 9

Most Recent

Most Popular

Highland East House

Highland East House by COLAB Architecture + Urban Design

The Highland East House is a 4,300 square foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom residence located in Portland’s SW Hills. The design harkens back to a Pacific Northwest style of mid-century modern houses constructed in Portland in the nineteen sixties.
Modern Living Space 13

Modern Living Space by Sue Murphy Interior Design

This project is a modern living space designed by Sue Murphy Interior Design based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. A bold, contemporary kitchen-dinning space with a...
Minimalist Single Storey Terrace House by Fabian Tan Architect 5

Minimalist Single Storey Terrace House / Fabian Tan Architect

The house is a typical single storey terrace house on a plot of 23' x 75' land. The original house layout is typically closed and the brief was to create an open plan on one side and private rooms on the other side of the dividing center wall.
Fish Creek House - a Small, Off-the-Grid Holiday Home by ArchiBlox

Fish Creek House, a Small Off-the-Grid Holiday Home by ArchiBlox

The Fish Creek House was designed to maximize sustainability & liveability. Careful positioning takes full advantage of natural cooling, heating, and lighting.

Modern Australian Farm House with Passive Solar Design

This modern Australian farm house was designed by Archterra Architects in Margaret River, Western Australia. Description by Archterra: This house sits along a ridge between...

More Articles Like This

HomeWorldDesign