Dogtrot House is a huge upgrade for the clients, a family of long-term, committed campers. They asked Dunn and Hillam Architects to design them a holiday house up the road from one of their favorite campsites on the south coast of New South Wales.
Their brief was: "capture everything we loved about camping, without the pack up at the end of every holiday -- a permanent, civilized campsite."
Therefore the Dogtrot House is a permanent campsite. The form of the building can be traced back to the early one room cabins that were built by farmers and fishermen. As the family grew, another cabin would be built and connected with a common roof.
During the evolution of the design for the house I was re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, which made reference to the vernacular ‘dog trot’ houses of the american south. The name comes from when the “old dog was too hot to trot”, the covered breezeway provided the perfect escape from the heat of the day. We realised with some joy that this is what we had." -- Dunn and Hillam Architects
Low Impact Arrangement
The resulting building is a low impact, compact arrangement of three discrete rooms around a kitchen and campfire. Two roofs shelter the pavilions with an open bathroom between. Separating the pavilions is the wide, open-ended “dogtrot” corridor.
Separate but Connected
The rooms are separate but in a strong relationship to one another and the landscape, like a family of tents at a campsite. The space made in the centre is for gathering, eating, reading and is open to the landscape and the breeze. You have no choice but to be outside when moving between rooms, in this way you are always reminded landscape and the weather.
Understanding of Place
"Architects are rarely presented with an opportunity to site their buildings with the delicacy and deep understanding of place that is evident in the Indigenous Australian camp and subsequently the vernacular structures of the early settlers. This project gave us that opportunity and the detailed design and material choices were all informed by this. Overall we were concerned with making an appropriate response to the place, the clients brief and the budget all of which were modest, simple but not straightforward." -- Dunn and Hillam Architects
Humble and Poetic
The Dogtrot House is a house that has everything you need and nothing you don't. It is humble, poetic and without pretense -- the perfect home for simple country living.