The First Lessons House is the first project from architecture firm Ray Dinh Architecture. Like many architect’s first projects, the project came through family. Ray describes the brief for a ‘house that allows for as much outdoor space as possible, and opens up to the garden.’
The home sits among myrtle and tea-trees, and overlooks the Portsea Lagoon and Wildlife Reserve. With this stunning site to work with, Ray was intent on ‘getting the basics right’. He aimed to design a home that would respond sensitively to its context, and be guided by the owners’ daily habits.
The outcome is an L-shaped house on a square block, that is designed to maximise tree canopy shade, northern sun and views to the lagoon. The two ‘arms’ of the home allow for both distance and connection, with the kids’ rumpus room at the opposite end to the parents’ bedrooms. Ray explains how this spatial design encourages ‘mischief and separation’ (!), as well as inviting the family into the outdoors, as the fastest route between the ends of the home is a ‘shortcut through the garden!’
Charred blackbutt, concrete, and corrugated iron were selected as ‘robust, earthy materials’, designed to be softened by the natural light and surrounding landscape. Material selection was also informed by the budget, where the ‘entire roof and back of the house is made of standard timber frame and corrugated cladding.’ Saving money here, meant the clients could invest in more extravagant features elsewhere, such as the oversized glass doors throughout the home, which maximise the view.
Ray illustrates the success of the home by recalling the ‘family Christmas dinner, 45 person sit down New Years dinner, and 12th birthday party’ that have all been hosted here since the clients moved in! With a brief that emphasised the importance of communal and shared space, it’s nice to know he’ll have ongoing opportunities return to this home and celebrate with his extended family in years to come!