Edition Office’s latest residential project on the New South Wales coast is designed to respond to its environment and its owners’ evolving lifestyles.

In a quiet pocket of houses overlooking the Tasman Sea, enveloped by towering spotted gum trees, lies a single-storey concrete-clad house perched atop a series of block-work walls. Inside, the house is clothed entirely in timber, evoking the atmosphere of a bushland sanctuary. The brief was to connect the home to the surrounding landscape through materials and aspects while also creating a comfortable place for the elderly owners to live out their next chapter.

The living spaces benefit from a strong connection to the landscape, achieved through large sliding doors that frame aspects of the trees.

Any work of architecture, wherever it may be, should reframe or recalibrate our relationship with that place,” Edition Office co-director Aaron Roberts told est in a recent interview. The Melbourne-based multidisciplinary design studio, named one of our esteemed 10 for 2023, are renowned for crafting buildings that respond, first and foremost, to their environment. They believe that by embracing a connection to place, we can better understand the history of that place – particularly in relation to Australia’s First Nations people. 

Edition Office have put this philosophy into practice by using materials with a low carbon footprint that echo the landscape. The interiors consist of two types of sustainably-sourced timber, hardwood plywood and spotted gum, the silvery bark of the latter conveyed through the home’s grey concrete exterior panelling. The home’s orientation also carefully considers the locations of the existing trees, honouring them as immovable parts of the site. Inside, views of the trees are captured from all angles, giving context to the all-timber palette.

The interior palette of hardwood plywood and spotted gum evokes the atmosphere of a bushland sanctuary.

The living space features the Halcyon Lake Chromatic Clay rug.

With the generally temperate climate, the design team opted for no cooling in the home, relying instead on ceiling fans to conserve energy. Large sliding doors were installed in the living areas so the home could open up in the warmer months. During the cooler months, these spaces enjoy maximum exposure to the northern sun.

Edition Office have also considered the lifestyle needs of the couple who live there, one of whom is in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. On a macro scale, the home’s single-storey layout with no stairs prioritises mobility and accessibility. On a micro-scale, details like the custom-designed stainless-steel grab rails in the bathroom make spaces easier to use. The design team call this “dignified infrastructure for ageing-in-place”.

Custom-designed stainless-steel grab rails make the bathroom easier to use. The walls are lined in the same concrete as the building’s exterior.

A cut-out within the centre of the roofline creates a sheltered outdoor dining space. This void within the heart of the home clearly divides the living and private spaces.

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