On a semi-rural site in a lush valley west of Brisbane, Australia, the Davenport Wilson House designed by Shane Thompson Architects is a response to the particular and immediate landscape views.
On a semi-rural site in a lush valley in upper Brookfield, west of Brisbane, the Davenport Wilson House is a response to the particular and immediate landscape views.
The house is sited to maximise aspect and prospect. Its form and character are derived from the rural tradition of the pragmatic utilitarian buildings of the area, where simple timber structures, clad in battens or timber slabs with openings to serve particular functional needs, are part of the local vernacular.
The clients had already lived in an old 1940’s farmhouse on the property for many years and had an intimate understanding and love of the landscape; its smells, sights, sounds, light and rhythm. This familiarity with the setting, along with an extended dialogue about how they wanted to live, informed the development of the design. The design contributed to a sense of “living in” the landscape. Consequently, the house is a moment in the landscape, where the larger scale space and experience pass through its fabric. The house is anchored to the site with masonry terraces that emerge from the sloping ground. These terraces form the ground planes internally and externally upon which a lightweight timber structure provides varying levels of exposure.
The house is a long linear form which emerges from the ground as a single storey at the north west of the site and gently rises up to the south east to three storeys and pivots towards a specific long view, where a massive two storey high window to the master bedroom celebrates that termination. Spaces are arranged along the length of the house, where the central spaces form the principle more open and generous living areas, and lead to the more private and hermit-like spaces of the children’s bedrooms to the north west and the parents’ bedroom to the south east.
A lower level at the south east accommodates a guest room, hobby room and garage, while a mezzanine study and sitting room with ‘Juliet’ balcony float in the higher roof spaces to the South East. Broad terraces for night time / day time and summer / winter outdoor living expand the house into the landscape to the North East and South West where a large existing Poinciana tree provides shade, framed views and a welcoming entry experience.
Materials and tectonics are simple and robust with wet dash rendered masonry walls, timber cladding, timber and aluminium window joinery, concrete floors, plasterboard walls, simple stained LVL and ply ceilings, and timber and concrete joinery.
Sustainability is embedded in the house, from the passive solar design, to the use of minimal or no maintenance materials. The spotted gum external cladding will be allowed to weather over time while the linear one room wide plan and high ceilings affords excellent natural cross ventilation and natural light penetration. All waste is treated on site, and all roof water is harvested and used.
Low energy appliances and light fittings, water efficient plumbing, low VOC paint finishes, minimal use of plastics and an economy of mains generally all contribute to the sustainable nature of the house. A central slow combustion fireplace provides adequate winter heating for the whole house and the internal concrete floors, slab on ground and suspended, along with the masonry chimney provide an essential heat sink. Walls and roof are well insulated and the ceilings, roof statute and cabinetry use plantation hardwood and softwood timbers.
The Davenport Wilson House has been lovingly crafted by the owner/builder and others under their direction.
Davenport Wilson House
Program: single-family house
Architect: Shane Thompson Architects
Gross floor area: 387 sqm