Kerstin Thompson Architects: Albury home's climate-considered design

The design of the East Street home in Albury, frames and captures the stunning views south to Mt Huon.
The design of the East Street home in Albury, frames and captures the stunning views south to Mt Huon.

In developing the design of the East Street home, Kerstin Thompson Architects took inspiration from the surroundings and all that nature has to offer.

The client's brief centred on the setting, calling for a modest-sized home with rural sensibility, cocooned in an environmentally sound design.

The result is this single-storey evocative and finely crafted, climate-considered home in Albury, New South Wales.

To capture its rural setting, the material palette is robust and direct, with concrete slab, bricks, cement sheet and ply for interior linings and joinery.

The environmentally responsive building envelope incorporates flyscreens, and can open up or shut down via sliding perforated cement sheet screens, louvres and windows, to adapt to Albury's climatic variation extremes.

"The client had chosen the site many years earlier because of its sweeping views to Mt Huon," said Lynn Chew of Kerstin Thompson Architects.

"The design of the house frames and captures these stunning views."

"Adjusted to the slope of the land, the house is arranged along two terraces - one upper and one lower.

This organises flow of function and differentiates between a warmer north side and a cooler south side.

"The stepped floor in combination with the roof angle create living spaces that are shady in summer, and sun-filled in winter."

Keeping in mind the material palette, Kerstin Thompson Architects, having worked with leading timber supplier Big River Group previously, knew that timber would complement the aesthetic of the home perfectly.

Using the company's Armourpanel in blackbutt hardwood sheet lining on doors, walls and for joinery timber, injected warmth into the home.

It also enhanced spaces with the combination of a restrained palette of darkly stained plywood, raked cement-sheet ceilings and matte concrete floors.

"The timber walls and joinery are a feature of the residence, not only do they complement the concrete and cement sheet interior and the grey brickwork on the exterior, they also visually connect with the colours of surrounding bush environment," Ms Chew said.

The natural colouration and depth of colour of the timber, chosen in a large format three millimetre thick veneer panel, along with the unique timber characteristics, meld with the views and changing landscape.

"As the dwelling is located within a bushfire prone area the choice of Armourpanel in blackbutt is a natural fit being a bushfire resistant timber," Ms Chew added.

"Big River's veneers are available in various thicknesses for use in floors, walls, furniture and cabinetry, enabling a well curated and crafted palette of natural materials to be employed.

"We have specified Big River's timbers on many projects and are really satisfied with their services and timber products, and quality and care of customer support in their sales and technical teams."

The Big River Group national plywood and specialty manager, Stuart McGonagle, said the company was thrilled to be involved in the project as Kerstin Thompson Architects believe in supporting local industries and suppliers.

This natural masterpiece has been named 2020 AIA National Awards winner Residential Architecture - Houses (New) and 2020 AIA New South Wales Chapter winner Residential Architecture - Houses (New), and received The Robin Boyd Award.