VISION Issue 4 | Page 16

Vision Magazine 16 17 W 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