Southern Outlet House by Philip M Dingemanse

Situated on a northeast facing slope adjacent a major arterial road, the Southern Outlet House is a site specific study of the contribution a private residence may make to the public domain and the role of architecture more broadly in a small regional centre.

The core requirements of a climatically responsive and welcoming family home underpin the project. The building is sited and planned to maximize the attributes of the location and work within the constraints of a steep slope and restrictive budget.

Adopting a strategy from early 20th Century naval camouflage, the dazzle technique is employed, not in order to conceal the mass of building, but rather to manipulate its public face, adjust its scale, and suggest another dimension to the otherwise flat facade. The building acknowledges people passing by in vehicles at speed, as well as those living on the hill opposite who view back to the static object.

The public face is perhaps changed in its form and nature and becomes just another highway directional sign, vehicle, billboard or piece of public art. Ultimately the scheme is the inevitable consequence of a situation where the owner, architect and builder are the same person.

Broadly, three key themes underpinned the entire decision making process during design and construction.

i. The opportunities and consequences of a situation where the owner, architect and builder are the same person.
ii. The opportunities and constraints of pushing a limited budget while remaining true to the core brief requirement of making a comfortable and welcoming family home which is closely connected to outside and the garden.
iii. The specific site opportunities and contribution a private residence may make to the public domain.

The opportunities of the building section are maximized. Though relatively small in floor area, the high ceiling of the living area provides an air of generosity. Higher up in the volume, a studio area views across the living spaces while a large work bench forms a lower ceiling to the sunken lounge below, thereby providing a more intimate and sheltered area within the larger volume. The children’s area has capacity to be separated into 2 spaces needs change with age. They also have their own access to the garden.

Info and images © Philip M Dingemanse

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