An Architect's house in the Southern Highlands

When our architectural clients first laid eyes on this property in the rural village of Exeter, one and a half hours’ drive south of Sydney, it was love at first sight. Framed by the dramatic beauty of the Southern Highlands, the property presented the perfect weekend escape; a place for respite and relaxation, with the aspiration of it one day becoming a primary residence.

The clients, both established architects, were rigorous in their project’s requirements. Between the pair of them, they have accomplished a broad and prolific portfolio of work spanning from small local projects to big international schemes. This breadth of knowledge has meant their quest for quality is uncompromising.

Their decision to work with Intermode was a very considered one. From the beginning, the couple felt an alignment with the firm’s ethics and aesthetics. They appreciated Intermode’s flexible designs, their sensitive construction process, and their inherent respect for the landscape and the environment.

Intermode’s brief was to create a large open space that would capture the views and northern light as much as possible. Responding to this, the building is designed as a transparent rectangular pavilion with a fluid relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Respecting the integrity of the site, the form is raised above the ground on a timber platform and is sheltered by an overhanding flat planar roof form.

The layout of the building heightens the sense of escapism from the city and celebrates the transition to a rural setting. A gravel driveway winds through the rich landscape, hinting at views without ever revealing them in its entirety.

It’s not until you step inside the front door that the beauty of the serene environment is revealed. Glazing on the northern, western and eastern boundary walls takes in the panoramic outlooks while maximising the house’s solar orientation. A generous deck beyond the glazing extends the perceived living space into the landscape and frames the distant views.

The interior planning reflects the client’s need for flexibility. Two distinct bedroom wings are separated by an open living, dining and kitchen area. The material palette is minimal and refined and maximises the sense of light and transparency.

Uncompromisingly contemporary, this is a house with real architectural character yet it is carefully considered and has a strong emphasis on unadorned quality materials. It requires little maintenance and can be closed up when not in use, an important factor for a holiday home.

See our professional photo shoot of this project here