Project: Gundowring House
Architects: Bryant Alsop Architects
Builder: Scott James Builder
Supplier: AJAR Furniture
Location: Tangambalanga, Victoria, Australia
Photographer: Rhiannon Slatter
Text by Bryant Alsop Architects
Set on approx. 400 acres of open tableland, Bryant Alsop carefully considered the beauty of the nature’s canvas and seasonal weather extremes when siting a contemporary ranch house from which the owners could run their working cattle farm and enjoy semi-retirement.
Visitors are greeted with a monumental Cor-ten northerly façade punctuated with deeply recessed fenestration that flanks the principal entrance. While starkly modern in form, the patina of rusted steel gives Gundowring House a sense of having been there forever.
With no existing house or defining land features (other than dead trees in adjacent paddock) to constrain placement, it was determined that a deliberate gesture in robust materials would stand heroically – and stoically – in the pastoral setting. A controlled, structured plane provides a platform for the house, one that extends seamlessly into the natural landscape.
From the outside, this sculptural manifestation could be part art museum, part fortress, yet this is very much a homestead.
Behind the Cor-ten façade is a simple container for day-to-day living, with spaces that can be closed down to comfortably accommodate just two people or opened up to host gatherings of two hundred.
Form establishes the program – controlling light, views and passage through a series of internal zones flowing to external ones. Spaces are arranged to engage with the landscape across the course of each day, and each season.
With its productive orchard and vegetable garden Gundowring House is completely off-grid and sustainable initiatives include under solar array and battery storage, water tanks, slab insulation and double glazing.
Orientation, cross-ventilation and the thermal mass of concrete walls and slab moderate temperature fluctuations such that, even at climatic extremes, one wood fire heats the whole house and no air-conditioning is needed.