A Home That Invites The Outside In

The term ‘place specificity’ gets bandied around a lot in art and architecture – but what does it truly mean when designing a home? For architecture firm Archier, design should both reflect the materials available in a given environment, and (importantly!) be appropriate for the weather conditions of a place.

The Willisdene Home, located in Sandy Bay, Hobart provides an example of designing for a specific location, while also ensuring a highly personalised outcome.

Lucy Feagins

The ‘Willisdene House’ by Archier in Sandy Bay, Hobart. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

The contemporary extension was executed by architecture firm Archier, who have offices in Hobart and on the ‘main land’ in Melbourne! Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

Feature artwork by Nathan Gray. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

The brief was to include a spot for Ollie the Labrador to laze in the sun – think we found it! Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

The dark palette of the extension was chosen specifically to draw the eye out to the garden areas. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

The original house lacked light and access to garden spaces – mission accomplished! Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

Open-plan kitchen and dining. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

The spacious kitchen, with lighting by Archier. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

These incredible bespoke basins are by local Tasmanian ceramicist, Lindsey Wherrett. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

A workshop on the property designed for storing a fleet of bicycles. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

Light and warmth has been brought to this previously dark and cold 100-year-old home. Photo – Benjamin Hosking.

Lucy Feagins
21st of September 2018

Architecture firm Archier is based both in Hobart and Melbourne, but today’s featured home responds to a very Tasmanian sense of place (and weather requirements!). The Archier team explain that their studio is ‘big enough to bridge the Bass Strait, but small enough to fit around one table to collaborate.’ The firm’s work is informed by a ‘regionalist agenda’, where design takes into consideration ‘material honesty, thermal performance and construct-ability.’ Think sparkling Tasmanian landscape and locally sourced building materials, rather than apple isle clichés!

Thermal performance was important to the owners of the Willisdene House, which had dark cold living areas and a lack of access to the garden areas. In order to bring light and life into the Sandy Bay property, Archier reconsidered how the outdoors could be ‘drawn into the everyday rituals of the dwelling.’ The built addition to the home has been designed in a dark palette, to draw the eye out towards the garden, while the interiors are rendered in neutral tones to brighten and highlight the owner’s art and furnishings.

The owners’ brief was to ‘include a spot of Ollie the Labrador to laze in the sun’, a workshop for storing (hiding!) a fleet of bicycles, and a social kitchen and dining area for entertaining friends. Delightfully, the brief also highlighted the need for the home to be more than just ‘practical and functional’ – there needed to be an emotional connection woven into the design.

Archier encouraged light into the home by extending an existing hallway into the rear of the building, and opening out the ground level into a courtyard. This indoor/outdoor green space is nestled between the lounge and a workshop space. The architects describe how ‘with two simple moves, the majority of the brief is resolved – and the rest, as they say, is window dressing.’ The Tasmanian Architecture Awards clearly approve, awarding Archier a commendation for the Willisdene House.

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