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!

View Comments

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

Food

Lucy's Extra Special Potato Salad

A fancy, French-style potato salad with all the trimmings!
Lucy Feagins

Homes

A Home Of Joy and Light, With Alex McCabe Of Kip&Co

Explore the bright, effervescent home of Alex McCabe and family, in St Kilda.

News

What To Do On Your Next Summer Roadtrip

Bush Heritage Australia remind us what to consider (and what’s at stake if we don’t) as we venture outdoors.
Elle Murrell

Every Painting Tells A Story

This Painting From 1862 Reveals A Dramatic, Cautionary Tale!

A family loses their fortune in dramatic circumstances, in this captivating work from the National Gallery of Australia's 'Love & Desire' ex...

News

Stephen Baker Adds A New Panel To His Iconic Fitzroy Pool Mural

Pool Parade gets an update from the legendary Melbournian artist!
Sally Tabart

Art

7 Women Shaking Up The Australian Art Scene

The trailblazing artists making their own unique mark on Australia's creative landscape. 
Elle Murrell

Art

This Exhibition Is A Tribute To New York Museum Wanderings

Sydney-born, New York-based artist Adriana Picker returns to her home city to unveil 'Vases from the MET' in Paddington this week.
Miriam McGarry
  3 hours ago

News

Elka Collective's Calming New Flagship Store

Pairing luxe, natural materials with a soft colour palette, this fashion retailer’s new store reflects its brand ethos.
Sally Tabart

Modernist Australia

A Home Where Summer Holidays Never End, And It's For Sale

A miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town, and preeminent Victorian architect Guilford Bell, designed in 1973.
Patricia Callan

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!
Sally Tabart
  11 hours ago

Interiors

An Elegant Makeover Of A Classic California Bungalow

Sarah Elshaug of Maitland Street Interiors takes us inside her renovation of a 1930's California Bungalow in Melbourne’s Glen Iris.
Elle Murrell

News

Mercedes me Achieves carboNZero Certification

The Mercedes me Melbourne cafe and event space has been recognised for their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

News

Huge Names Added To The 'All About Women' Festival

Including Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff!
Sally Tabart
  3 hours ago

Tiny Homes

This Home Transforms Neglected Housing Stock Into Micro Luxury!

The 'tiny home' phenomenon continues... explore the Type Street Apartment from Tsai Design.
Miriam McGarry

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.