Black Quail


Photography by Simon Devitt, Simon Wilson


2021 HOME magazine – HOME of the year

On a site dotted with wild thyme and rosehip, and located within historic mining tailings in a craggy, dry and at times inhospitable landscape, this house needed protection from the elements without hiding from its extraordinary surroundings.

With this in mind we wedged the house into the hillside (like the former stone miners huts still visible further up the valley) and opened up views to the river below and to the family’s vineyard above.

A courtyard located to the south of the main living area has dictated a typically orthogonal floor plan, offering an essential, secondary, protected exterior area and an opportunity to grow a lush garden, directly contrasting the harsh environment outside. Smaller courtyards to the east and west offer varying extended living scenarios and enhance the transparency throughout the building.

Inspired by the rocky terrain, precast concrete walls have been chosen as the main form of wall construction. A gentle sloped roof covered with shingle from the site accentuates the idea that the house is firmly imbedded in the landscape. Stone from site interspersed with precast concrete creates the outlying walls. Weathered steel cladding around the entry and garage make up the exterior palette, while to the interior wood panelling and wooden joinery items offer a warmer contrast to the robust exterior.

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