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Step Inside: Sunnybanks House

May 14, 2018
Step Inside:  Sunnybanks House

It's unusual for an architect to be tasked with finding the perfect block of land as part of their brief and before the design has even been contemplated. But this is exactly what happened after a random meeting at a Sydney design show between Tasmanian architect Ryan Strating from Core Collective, and a couple who were planning on retiring to the Apple Isle.

Ryan's clients were keen to make the move to Tassie and build themselves their forever home. They had a strong sense of an aesthetic that they wanted to achieve but just as important was the creation of a highly sustainable and low maintenance home.

Ryan kept an eye out for suitable properties and eventually found the perfect location less than an hour drive south of Hobart, on a site that overlooks the D'Entrecasteaux Channel toward Bruny Island. The site is spectacular, nestled into the side of a hill with views down the valley to the sea. 'We wanted the house to sit with the contours of the hill, nestling into the bank and opening up its long north-facing side to the panoramic views and warming sunshine', Ryan explains.

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The entry sequence to the property was an important part of building this drama. There are glimpses of the views as you approach along the driveway but an inconspicuous concrete courtyard entry conceals its full impact. It is when you open the hefty pivot door that the breathtaking beauty of the view hits you.

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While the interiors needed to play second fiddle to the views, they also had to create their own musicality. The interiors were strongly influenced by the couple's collection of retro record albums. The albums were deeply influenced by landscapes, environment and the interplay of shadow and light. The works are ethereal, and offer a feeling of stillness and beauty that Core Collective aimed to capture in their design.

The clients were also inspired by the works of modernist Frank Lloyd Wright and Tom Kundig's strong industrial aesthetic. 'Our clients have a beautiful collection of furniture, artworks, literature and music. We wanted the house to be a quiet backdrop to all of these beauties, so we selected a simple material palette of concrete, steel, lime, rendered masonry and Tasmanian timbers.'

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The couple both wanted to enjoy Tasmania's changing elements, but also be protected from them. 'Knowing that this part of Tasmania can experience wild weather throughout the year, we built in a sheltered outdoor entertaining area, covered by a roof and with an outdoor fireplace to keep warm by', the studio explains.

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Creating a highly sustainable home was crucial to the brief. The core structure is ClinkaBLOK — double-skinned, insulated masonry walls formed from lightweight expanded clay. Below the slab a layer of ClinkaFILL provides additional insulation. Triple glazed walls on the north side of the house and adjustable openings to promote cross ventilation ensure high thermal performance. 'The house is 9 Star energy rated, and uses the warmth of the sun, storing it in the insulated floor and walls, for gradual release throughout the day and night. Our clients were thrilled to discover they could comfortably walk around bare-foot in the depths of winter, with no need to turn the heaters on!' The project also incorporated a number of other sustainable principles to achieve the high star rating including rainwater tanks, solar power, a gravity-fed water recycling system for the garden and a green roof that in time will blend into this extraordinary landscape.

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It has been a serendipitous relocation for the owners of Sunnybanks House. From that one chance meeting in Sydney, they now have a remarkable home on one of Tassie's most sublime coastlines and a close friendship with their architect Ryan Strating, who has helped them settle into their new lives in Tasmania.

We would like to thank Ryan Strating and Core Collective for inviting us to step inside this incredible home. The Sunnybanks House won 2017 Tasmanian Architecture Awards – Award for Residential Architecture Houses (New), 2017 Tasmanian Architecture Awards – Award for Sustainable Architecture, 2017 Tasmanian Architecture Awards – Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture and was shortlisted in the 2017 Houses Awards – (New houses over 200m2).

Project Credits | Architects: Core Collective — Ryan Strating, Chris Clinton, Emily Ouston | Builder: Paradigm Constructions | Structural Engineer: Gandy and Roberts Consulting Engineers | Steel Fabricator: Mike McGlynn, Allports | Building Surveyor: Pitt & Sherry | Energy Rater: Building eValuate | Plumber: Overeem Gas & Plumbing | Lighting Consultant: Casa Monde | Photographer: Adam Gibson Photographer

Special thanks to House of Home Contributor, Kate Shaw for writing this article.


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