Trentham Long House treads the line between old-fashioned simplicity and the conveniences of contemporary life, perfect for the sleepy semi-rural area of Trentham…
Energy Efficient, Low-Maintenance Home
Located within a recent semi-rural development on the periphery of the town, the project brief was to design an energy efficient, low maintenance single dwelling on a large, north-facing site for a retired couple, their visiting children, and grand children. The clients wanted a home that would sit well within its local and historical context, provide a comfortable and easy home year round, and also adapt to accommodate large family gatherings scattered throughout the year.
Surrounded to the north, east, and west at reasonably close proximity by neighbouring properties and to the south by a main road, Trentham Long House is positioned centrally on the block, with almost equal parts rear and front garden. The design contends with the precarious task of maximising idyllic views whilst maintaining privacy by retreating from its boundaries. Its careful placement enhances selected vistas whilst also defining a quiet, private realm set back from the public face of the street.
Contemporary Farm Building
Conceived as a collection of contemporary farm buildings gathered under one expansive gable roof, the house’s form is immediately provocative of the traditional farming structures that once inhabited the local area. This elegant architectural response places the old machinery shed (garage), drive through loading zone, and main farmhouse (complete with a central farmhouse kitchen and wood burning stove) in one singular structure and deftly satisfies the three distinct requirements of the brief in one swift, effortless movement.
Natural Material Palette
The building’s muted material palette subtly and effectively reflects the surrounding environment, echoing buildings of the past. The spotted gum exterior cladding is left to naturally patina, relying on its innate aptitude to develop character and camouflage over time.
In line with the project’s humble architectural intent, the building plan is reassuringly simple. It’s elongated, gable-roofed structure is neatly divided into parts according to the daily patterns and needs prescribed by a low-tech, country life.
Inviting Gathering Point
A dual faced hearth lies quite literally at the centre of the house, providing an inviting gathering point and gently delineating the eating and living spaces. The unfussy interior allows the architectural volumes to speak loudly, reverberating in the language of the traditional farmhouse that this space is one of simple gathering and well deserved repose.
The living, dining, and kitchen are sited within this core open plan area and are wide open spaces, spreading both vertically into the vaulted ceiling and horizontally into the landscape beyond. Treatment of the northern wall in this public space is truly contemporary, consisting of a layered arrangement of double glazed floor to ceiling windows and movable screens that allow a flexible relationship between inside and out, warmth and coolness, sunshine and shade, openness and privacy. Abutted at both ends by the house’s private sleeping zones and service areas, the central room is a space that can just as easily accommodate one or two as it could a dozen.
Trentham Long House
Trentham Long House skilfully draws reference from its local context and confidently negotiates the owners’ requirements for an energy efficient, low maintenance dwelling that urges everyday practicality and an emphasis on life’s simple pleasures.