ith double-glazing as a high performance
‘skin’, the Piermont house performs well
beyond the technical reach available to
those grand master Modernists.
Weekenders are rapidly morphing into full-timers.
This trend to exit the big smoke in search of country
congeniality is catching on. In the process, the quaint
country shack is expanding to accommodate life
beyond the city hubbub.
With more than half of the planet’s population
now urban dwellers, rural types are the shrinking yet
enthusiastic minority and plenty of those wouldn’t
have it any other way. While many crave the great
outdoors, some make it a way of life and prove that the
tree-change is the perfect fit for young active families.
Mies van der Rohe’s famed, yet problematic,
Farnsworth House by the Fox River, Illinois inspired
generations of followers in the International Style. Mies’
single room steel and glass wonder won admirers for
its capacity to make a grand single volume link quite
magically as a continuum with nature.
One Ballarat couple was so inspired by their visit
to the Farnsworth House, that upon their return the
couple rejected their original plans to build in the
rustic tradition. Their engagement of Rachoff Vella
Architects led to a wholly revised idea of how to build
on their rolling 10 acre property.
Having lived in a modest weatherboard cottage on
the site, the clients were familiar with their context
and yet the existing house turned its back on most of
the site and prohibited a more fluid relationship.
Designed for a family of six with four children
under the age of 12, the architect’s response is a
series of wings spread out into the landscape.
The house is carefully sited on a prominent and
higher location taking advantage of 360° views.
The bedroom wings respond to the contours of the
land allowing it to bunker itself down, reducing its
dominance and becoming a more integral part of the
site. The main living wing is the more flamboyant object
proudly projecting out over the site allowing the natural
landscape to merge through the glass façade.
Through the Looking Glass