Westwood Residence

This building responds imaginatively to the demands of the client and the demands of the environment. The design subtly manipulates symmetry and asymmetry in both plan and elevation as a way of engaging the viewer's mind. The plan also provides an effective passive cooling system by using the breezes prevalent in the area to cross-ventilate but not at the expense of creating dynamic internal living spaces. The use of concrete slab floors, additional insulation and a solar hot water system is forward thinking.

The plan is a boomerang shape as if a typical home plan had been bent into shape which in a sense is exactly what was done. Within the overall symmetry of this plan are a myriad of subtle asymmetries which are the result of both the program and the desire to create a set of dynamic internal spaces for modern living. The boomerang plan results in a series of fluid internal spaces that tend to connect into one another rather than merely butt up against themselves. This is most apparent in the two storey stair and entrance which was conceived as a hinge between the two wings.

The curving form of the building deflects the movement of occupants but it is also about guiding the eye to views. In this way the entrance can be understood as a scoop that guides eyes and movement away from the neighbour's home to the North, leading them around past a view of the a nearby dam located to the West and up the stairs into a living area with views out to the sea which lies to the South.

The challenges of orientating this home along a North-South axis meant that additional design and detailing was required to ensure it is responsive to the environment. Passive cooling strategies were used to draw hot air up from the ground floor through the stairwell and expel it through cross-ventilation on the first floor, solar panelling was placed on the roof to catch the sun's energy and PVC windows were used throughout. The clients have been happily surprised with the savings.

A variety of outdoor deck spaces are worked into the form supported by steel posts set on angles out from the building with tilted steel balustrades that create a similar forward thrust to the prow of a boat; the form is therefore ship-like without resorting too literally to nautical references. These steel columns serve the dual purpose of providing tie-down points for removable cloth sails that provide critical shade in the hot summer months over the central outdoor deck positioned on the first floor which brings light into the living area and results in a shaded outdoor space on the ground floor. Another smaller deck to the South extends from the living room on the first floor like a viewing platform. From here the coastline beckons through a romantic landscape of old Eucalypts and green hills.