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A Toowoomba Family Home, Designed To Transcend Time

Architecture

Ever since the INCREDIBLE debut project of architect Jesse Bennett Studio won both the Houses Awards’ Australian House of the Year, and the Robin Boyd Award for Houses (New) at the National Architecture Awards in 2015, we’ve been keenly awaiting the practice’s next completed project!

Named ‘Tjuringa’, this adaptable new home is finally here, capturing and extending on the essence and character of a 1960s property previously on site.

20th August, 2020

Tjuringa by Jesse Bennett Studio features a central courtyard with an existing rosewood tree.  Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The new home has been constructed using a custom brick mix in reference to the previous brick house, with an elevated, concrete structure suspended between five monumental columns that ‘floats’ over the top. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The concrete superstructure element protects the home from harsh Toowoomba westerly winds, and offers privacy away from a trafficked road above.  Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The interiors opens to the landscape on the east side, while bunkering down on the western side to suit the site conditions. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

A terrace off the dining area. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The main bedroom completely opens to stunning views. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

An expansive lawn wraps around the home. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The name ‘Tjuringa’ comes from a sacred Aboriginal artefact (usually a timber or stone carved long oblong shaped stick), which the client suggested be reflected in the home’s design. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The home has been constructed using a custom brick mix in reference to the previous 1960s brick house on site. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The concrete superstructure allows natural light in, while sheltering the home. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The client (a family of five) requested a home that would translate and endure generations, while containing elements of surprise, delight, discovery and the unexpected. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

Enhancing the garden was another priority for this project, both from an interior and exterior perspective. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

Planted elements on the roof that help soften the hard exterior, and will become overgrown over time. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

The combination of architectural influences in this project has resulted in an individual design that transcends time. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

Both civic and residential design techniques have been employed in this project, particularly in the use of scale and mass. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

Amelia Barnes
Thursday 20th August 2020

‘The building will play with time and we hope for it not to be from any distinguishable period or style of architecture.’ – Jesse Bennett

The recently completed Tjuringa house by Jesse Bennett Studio is an adaptable family home that tells the story of its site. 

The goal was to create a home for a family of five that would endure generations, while containing elements of surprise, delight, discovery and the unexpected. 

It was originally hoped this project would incorporate the brick perimeter walls of an existing 1960s house on site, but these were unfortunately structurally unsound. The decision was therefore made to build a completely new house that would replicate the former two-storey building’s outline, and use as many recycled materials as possible. Jesse explains, ‘The design reinterprets the original brick character of the former 1960s home, and combines with concrete massing which appears to float and dance around the challenging slope of the site.’

The new home has been constructed using a custom brick mix in reference to the previous brick house, with an elevated, concrete structure suspended between five monumental columns that ‘floats’ over the top. The two main functions of this heavy concrete element are to protect the home from harsh westerly winds, and to offer privacy away from a trafficked road above. 

Enhancing the garden was another priority for this project, both from an interior and exterior perspective. Inside, the home opens to the landscape on the east side, while bunkering down on the western side to suit the conditions. Central to the entire plan is a courtyard with an existing rosewood tree that provides a calming aspect, glorious natural light and ventilation to the house’s core.

Standing outside the home, one can appreciate the many planted elements on the roof that help soften the hard exterior. Over time these plants will become overgrown, creating ‘intrigue and delight, a relic to be discovered, explored and reinterpreted,’ as Jesse says. 

The combination of architectural influences in this project has resulted in a truly unique design that seems to transcend time. Both civic and residential design techniques have been employed, particularly in the use of scale and mass, creating a home that doesn’t speak to a specific period or trend. Jesse says, ‘The building will play with time, and we hope for it not to be from any distinguishable period or style of architecture.’

The Design Files acknowledges the Jagera, Giabal and Jarowair people as the traditional owners of the Darling Downs land where this home is based. We pay our respects to their past, present and future Elders. 

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.