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A Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Home On The Bellarine Peninsula

Architecture

When Freehand Projects were engaged to design a home on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula overlooking Lake Connewarre, architect Michael Bell focussed on embracing the site’s views, while providing protection from the elements.

Drawing on Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible Taliesin West project (1937-1959) in Arizona for inspiration, Freehand has delivered the clients the best of both worlds.

28th January, 2021

This new project by Freehand Projects on the Bellarine Peninsula was inspired by Frank Llyoyd Wright’s iconic Taliesin West building in Arizona. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

Creating a comfortable living space while while navigating the difficult site was a challenge. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

All principal rooms are positioned on the home’s upper level, with extra bedrooms and storage dug into the hillside below. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The completed home enjoys views of the lake, as well surrounding yellow gum trees. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The surrounding bushland was carefully cultivated by Tim Nicholas Landscape Architects. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The soft pearlescent greys, pale greens and ochre tones of the trees’ bark is referenced throughout the home’s material palette. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

Indoor greenery, white brick and light timber soften the interior palette in contrast to the geometric forms outside. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

 Concrete steps flank the side of the house. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The large geometric roof structures enter the roof at a 45 degree angle, creating a distinctive silhouette. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The timber intervention splices through from the back of the house to the front, where it protrudes over the communal entry way. Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

The view of the yellow gums is the best part of the end result! Photo – Steph McGlenchy.

Amelia Barnes
Thursday 28th January 2021

The soft pearlescent greys, pale greens and ochre tones of the trees’ bark is referenced throughout the home’s material palette.

This new home on the Bellarine Peninsula (about 80 minutes south-west of Melbourne) marks the second time Freehand Projects and the owners have worked together. 

Given this history, the architects had developed a good understanding of the client’s requirements, but this difficult site threw up its own set of challenges.

‘The site has some pretty spectacular views out over Lake Connewarre and beyond, but can be exposed to the elements, particularly strong westerlies from across the lake,’ says Michael Bell, architect at Freehand Projects. ‘A major consideration was resolving these conflicting environmental influences, while still maintaining a comfortable living space.’ 

When attempting to marry these two desires, Michael became inspired by a project he had long admired – Taliesin West (1937-1959) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale, Arizona.

‘We hit upon the idea of employing a similar roof form, which would not only reflect the slope of the site, but also convey a sense of sheltered prospect, with the frames extending out into the treetops,’ he says. 

Consequently, this new home was designed to direct prevailing winds up and over the roof, with a protected outdoor zone at the rear. All principal rooms are positioned on the home’s upper level, with extra bedrooms and storage dug into the hillside below.

The completed home enjoys views of the lake, as well surrounding yellow gum trees. ‘The owners were keen to bring these drought-affected trees back to health and rehabilitate the landscape more generally,’ Michael says. The soft pearlescent greys, pale greens and ochre tones of the trees’ bark is referenced throughout the home’s material palette. 

Michael perfectly describes the completed project as a ‘place in the treetops where the owners can enjoy watching the long summer sunsets, the constantly changing skies, and the incredible array of birdlife in the canopy of yellow gums.’

See more of  awe-inspiring designs by Freehand Projects here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net