This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Geometric Pavilion House In The Goldfields

Architecture

Mark Simpson is an interior design expert (he’s a juror of the 2018 Australian Interior Design Awards, being announced next week), and co-director at one of Australia’s most respected design practices, Melbourne-based DesignOffice.

He chats about designing a 100-square-metre geometric pavilion house in Chewton, just outside of Castlemaine Victoria, with his partner Maximillian. Hovering in native bushland site, this project required some creative problem solving (including some low-fi cardboard box modelling!) to create a distinctive and site-responsive home.

17th May, 2018

The 100-square-metre geometric pavilion designed by Mark and the DesignOffice team in Victoria’s Goldfield region. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

The pavilion sits on an elevated site, surrounded by native bushland. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

‘At less than 100-square-metre, it’s not a big house, but the main living area takes up about two thirds of this,’ Mark tells. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

Kitchen details. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

The sleek kitchen. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

In-built sofa of your dreams. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

The conversation pit – ‘It’s essentially a sunken put of upholstery where we can set up the projector and dive in.’ Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

Bedroom details. Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

The minimalist closet done right! Photo – courtesy of Design Office.

Lucy Feagins
Thursday 17th May 2018

With its small footprint and pared-back feel, the country retreat of interior architect Mark Simpson and his partner Max is unusually modest, for a regional home. After all, space isn’t exactly at a premium in regional Victoria, as far as we’re aware. And yet, Mark and Max have chosen to create a small, understated home here that offers the bare necessities required of a weekender – no more, and no less.

Built in 2011 in the Victorian town of Chewton, just outside Castlemaine, the home sits at less than 100-square-metres. But, with five-metre ceilings, windows on all sides, and central skylights, this is a home that feels much bigger than its deceptively modest footprint.

We speak with Mark about his architectural practice, DesignOffice, and the design of his unusually utilitarian weekender.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and pathway to DesignOffice?

I studied Interior Architecture in Scotland in the late 1990s, in a course which combined interior environments, a full architecture degree and urban design. That holistic and human-focused approach has been at the forefront of my design approach since and is at the heart of the way Damien and I work together.

Can you describe your general design thinking and approach?

A lot of our approach focuses on the brief and is underpinned by the inherent problem solving required in design. We’re as interested in how spaces feel and function as much as how they look. The emotional connection we all have with environments is a complicated thing to make tangible and that’s fascinating to us.

What inspired you to build your regional sanctuary, and what are your favourite details about the pavilion home?

The house is in Chewton, on the edge of the bush, just outside Castlemaine. We built it in 2011 as a weekender after falling in love with the township and the site. It’s a low-key place with a strong community and a great pool and pub!

At less than 100-square-metres, it’s not a big house. With five-metre ceilings, daylight on all four sides, and central skylights, the space that feels much bigger than its floor area. When you open the doors it really feels like a pavilion in the landscape.

The conversation pit is probably our other favourite thing, my partner Max and I was talking of having one for years – it’s essentially a sunken pit of upholstery where we can set up the projector and dive in!

How do the interior and exterior of the pavilion house relate to each other?

We wanted it to be a contemporary form, yet one that has a relationship with its surroundings – where the building sits in its landscape as opposed to on it. The simple pitched roof and light grey cladding references the tin sheds and outbuildings in the surrounding area.

Did you encounter any challenges with this project?

It was a relatively simple build, to be honest, but getting it to look this simple was actually quite complicated! In the end, we made a cardboard model for the builder and worked with this to get the form right – we’re still a little analogue at DesignOffice!

Similar Stories

Roundup

2017 Australian Interior Design Awards · Residential Highlights

Our highlights from the Australian Interior Design Awards, announced earlier this month.

Roundup

Solutions for Living Small

Cancel those extension plans; we're sharing a selection of clever ideas for beautiful and functional compact spaces from the TDF archives.

Roundup

2018 Australian Interior Design Awards

Our highlights reel of lust-worthy residential interiors shortlisted for the prestigious Australian Interior Design Awards this year.

This Week

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  17 hours ago

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  9 hours ago

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Roundup

2017 Australian Interior Design Awards · Residential Highlights

Our highlights from the Australian Interior Design Awards, announced earlier this month.

Roundup

Solutions for Living Small

A selection of our favourite functional, compact spaces from the TDF archives.

Roundup

2018 Australian Interior Design Awards

Our highlights reel of lust-worthy residential interiors shortlisted for the prestigious Australian Interior Design Awards this year.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net