Powell Residence

The Powell residence is an exploration of building typology resulting in a series of articulated forms that aim to enhance the sort of relaxing, informal fun that families hope for when they rent a home near the sea. The integration of a water tank into the courtyard, the detailing of the varied, steel-clad roof forms, the proportioning of the steel columns to suggest anchoring as much as support and the treatment of the concrete block and Custom Orb walls including rounded wall corners indicate the careful consideration with which materials have been used.

While many modern holiday homes in rural settings seek to present a unified form, the average existing farm home is in fact a jumble of buildings and add-ons accrued over time as new needs arise requiring additional building. In this sense the Powell residence was thought of contextually as a collection of buildings and lean-to's and it is in this way that the design engages with typology and history. When viewed from the street this collection of curved and skillion roofs means that the sophisticated way in which the building form has been articulated into separate pavilions requires further investigation to understand and appreciate; this is not just a modernist box but rather a building that moulds to the user and is in turn moulded by them though use.

From the street the East elevation of the residence appears almost intensely private with no way of seeing into the house; although there are extensive east windows into the kitchen and meals area concealed from the street by the garage. This elevation naturally arouses curiosity; the colour of the block work and painted corrugated steel sheet resonate from the colour of the dried grasses in the field behind providing a subtle backdrop to a whimsical, bright red corrugated steel screen that is a highly sculptural mask to a small service courtyard. In contrast expanses of glass on the West and North elevations look out over the countryside with views of the coast to the South-West captured from all the bedrooms and the family room. On this side a skillion roof lifts up dramatically to provide shade and cover to a patio; it is the same roof that covers the courtyard, draining rainwater back into a rainwater storage tank, located in the courtyard. This roof also acts formally as a connecting figure between the buildings. Upon approach to the holiday house, one tends to notice the many surrounding rural properties characterised by small homes with prominent corrugated iron water tanks; located almost as if to suggest that concealing them from public view would be pointless. This provided the inspiration to deliberately expose the home�s water tank. No attempt was made to conceal it � but rather to express the water tank for what it is and what it reminds us of. This notion was captured yet set apart from simple necessity by designing an individually distinctive and modernistic sculptured form surrounding the tank; by means of open curved geometry and striking colour.

To further acknowledge the heavy winds in the area the roof is supported from the courtyard by a pair of steel columns, the scale and angle of which suggest not so much that they are supporting the roof but that they are holding it down and anchoring it. During heavy rain this roof drains onto the adjacent garage roof which in turn drains into the tank creating a relaxing sound that is a romantic reminder of the elements.