The first thing you’ll see when entering the gates at ‘Onedin’, is a desert-style garden setting the tone for the mid-century inspired home to come. The house is relatively simple in form, with a similar facade to the the famous Kaufmann House (1946) in Palm Springs, California, but the scale and hardworking material palette makes its significance immediately evident. ‘The combination of material, form and architectural expression combine here in a way that is rare for us to achieve on anything other than a significant block with a significant budget,’ says Shaun Lockyer, director of Shaun Lockyer Architects.
The brief was to develop a timeless and engaging piece of modern architecture to serve as a family home, and repository for the client’s extensive art collection. Driving the aesthetics was the owner’s love of concrete and stone. ‘The work of the Brazilian modernists, plus Richard Neutra, and a number of North American modernists, were significant,’ says Shaun.
An interplay of horizontal and vertical forms and volumes, with a compositional play of light and heavy materials, was designed for the facade. The floorplan was then conceived as three separate wings around a central courtyard, framed by a long stone wall.
In the main living space is the biggest void in the house, punctuated by a skylight described by Shaun as giving the concrete a ‘sense of lightness and even tension, as the shafts of light animate the space.’
While Shaun’s team is used to working with concrete, he admits this project tested even their capabilities. ‘Being substantially off-form concrete, getting the detail and execution handled correctly was massively challenging,’ he says. ‘It is a very unforgiving design to build, so the time was taken to properly document every millimetre. Very few changes were made on site.’
Shaun Lockyer Architects have designed several large scale homes, but they recognise Onedin as one of their landmark projects. ‘This is a very site-specific design, along with a brief that offered a rare opportunity to explore architectural form,’ says Shaun. The architects wish to credit the ‘extraordinary team of builders, consultants and subcontractors’, especially CGH Constructions, for bringing this design to life. Shaun says, ‘This may seem like an obvious point to make in the architectural world, [but] it is rare to have this level of collaboration, support and common vision toward a single idea.’