This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Gentle Brutalist Masterpiece In Brisbane

Architecture

Situated on a steep slope in the middle of an extreme bush fire zone, there is not much about this site that is easy. Yet somehow, Nielsen Jenkins have created an exceptional home here, one that is both sturdy and relaxing, elegant and intimate.

Designed as a wedge that has lodged itself into the mountain-side, the Mt Coot-Tha house wraps around a luscious green central courtyard, and provides both connection to and protection from the elements.

10th May, 2021

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 10th May 2021

‘It has a real quality of quiet refuge that is immensely satisfying for us.’ – Lachlan Jenkins

As the proverb goes, one should never mix business with pleasure. But the Mt Coot-Tha House by Nielsen Jenkins was designed for principal architect Morgan Jenkins’ sister on a block of land next to his mother’s house, and everything turned out more than okay. In fact, the two firm directors believe the exact opposite of the aphorism is true.

‘People say that you should never work for family and friends, but we have found that some of our best work has been for both,’ says Morgan. ‘They offered us an enormous amount of trust, and we understood the mechanics of how they lived, and the way the house could influence the way they could live and how their kids could grow up.’

It’s an excellent point, and one that highlights the often underestimated presence of intimacy in residential architecture projects. Beyond this interpersonal affinity, however, another level of familiarity pervades the final project: one between human and environment. At every point, the design for the Mt Coot-Tha House takes the connection to landscape into account.

A winding driveway snakes up to the front of the house, where the main living room is perched atop a two-car garage. The frontage of these two rooms is the only part that faces the ‘street’ – the rest of the house is tucked into a wedge that scales the slope behind.

As the site inclines, the rooms unfurl themselves. Climbing up the internal staircase beside the garage visitors are deposited into the living room, which takes full advantage of views over the bushy terrain at the front of property. This floor is where all the activity of the main house happens.

A few concrete steps lead up from the living room to the open-plan dining room and kitchen, which remain raised but connected to the lounge zone. Through a well-hidden door the side, the main bedroom and ensuite is tucked into its own nook overlooking a lush private courtyard.

The kitchen and dining area abuts the grand centrepiece of the entire house: a large, lush  courtyard. Huge sliding glass windows open the eating zone and adjacent staircase to the courtyard, which is also overlooked by the two bedrooms on the top storey. The result is like an embrace, with the concrete arms of the house wrapping around the soft foliage at the centre.

‘The minimal and stripped material palette is really successful at taking your focus immediate into the surrounding forest and heightening the feeling of connection to the landscape,’ says co-director Lachlan Nielsen, highlighting the way the solid but raw material expression echoes the natural surrounds.

By the looks of things, this home will be delighting its occupants, and future generations for years to come!

See more projects by Nielsen Jenkins here.

Similar Stories

Architecture

Bringing A Slice Of Coastal Mid-Century Architecture Back To Life

DFJ Architects revive an original 1950s home on the Tweed Coast, now affectionately known as ‘Neal + Shirley’s’.

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

This Week

Homes

An Artist’s Spanish Mission Home In Newcastle

The recently-renovated home of artist Annie Everingham and family feels like a piece of California… in Newcastle!

Studio Visit

Inside Bianca Pintan's Vividly Colourful Ceramic Practice!

The Brazilian-born artist now works and lives in Byron Bay, pushing the boundaries with her bold and bright ceramics.
Christina Karras

Food

Julia's Handmade Strozzapreti With Tiny Meatballs

Julia Busuttil Nishimura shares a recipe from her new cookbook 'Around The Table' – an instant family favourite!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

At Home With Sheridan

The Minimalist Inner-City Sanctuary Of Skincare Guru James Vivian + Ben Esakoff

A Prahran Edwardian cottage meets a minimalist architectural addition, with exposed materials, an impressive art collection, and textured Sh...

News

Bid On Spectacular Contemporary Art From Australia's Best At The IMA's Benefit Auction!

Snap up works from award-winning artists thanks to the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane’s glamorous annual gala and online auction!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Thoughtful Native Garden Anchoring A ‘Floating’ Home In The Byron Hinterland

Explore the diverse and lush landscaping of Coolamon House, perched on ancient volcano crater with uninterrupted views to the ocean.
Christina Karras

Stays

A Serene Architectural Getaway Overlooking Vineyards In Central Victoria

Barfold Estate's new boutique accommodation is the best kept secret in the Heathcote / Kyneton region – for now!

Interiors

A Majestic Garden House That Transcends Aesthetics

The landscape is the mesmerising star of the show in Garden House by Arent&Pyke and Polly Harbison Design.

Art

Announcing The Winners Of The 2022 Telstra NATSIAA!

See the winners and finalists from the most prestigious award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, the 2022 Telstra NATSIAA!

Architecture

A Contemporary Barn-Style Home On A Working West Gippsland Farm

Green Hills Farm owners Neil and Kristy Plumridge share their barn-inspired West Gippsland home designed by Slap Architects.

Interiors

The Colourful, Creative Home Of Adelaide Designers, Daniel + Emma

The renovated home of Daniel To and Emma Aiston is perfectly playful, complete with a charming yellow kitchen, and plenty of personality!
Christina Karras

News

Nicole Lawrence Studio And Curio Practice Pop Up In Sydney

The two rising design stars open the doors to their week-long shop and showroom in Paddington.

News

Local Chef Ella Mittas' First Cookbook Brings Us A Taste Of The Mediterranean

The Greek-Australian chef shares her most delicious recipes and personal essays in Ela! Ela! – To Turkey and Greece, Then Home.
Christina Karras

On The Market

For Sale: An Ultimate Sydney Dream Home, With Waterfront Views

This new Balmain family home has it all - a resort-style backyard, swimming pool, gym, steam room, home theatre, and it's for sale!
Christina Karras

News

Treat Yourself To A Better Sleep With DOMO's Epic Bed Promotion

Now’s your chance to upgrade to your dream bed – DOMO are offering 20% off all King and Queen beds in stock!
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Architecture

Bringing A Slice Of Coastal Mid-Century Architecture Back To Life

DFJ Architects revive an original 1950s home on the Tweed Coast, now affectionately known as ‘Neal + Shirley’s’.

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

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