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Winkler House/Office

Winkler House/Office, Torquay (in-progress)

Constructed predominantly of recycled ‘Blackbutt’, the residence and home office is essentially a timber box nestled amongst the tall existing Messmate gum trees. Extruded along the East/West axis, the dwelling is orientated for maximum Winter sun penetration into a narrow width floor plate. The single level building allows the tall indigenous canopy trees to dominate the landscape.


Access from the open Carport to the main pavilion is via a colonnade walkway aside the Bungalow and across the central Bluestone entry forecourt; the Terrace floats on concealed pedestals, allowing air to circulate and the rain to pass through, watering the tree roots below. The main volume also hovers above the ground, supported via minimal stump and pad footings to minimize disturb of the root structure. The existing trees offer the residence much privacy and shade as the sunlight is filtered through the leaves and branches.


The East wing comprises a Living, Kitchen and Master Bedroom with Ensuite. The West side comprises a Dining, Office, Store and Powder Room. A sheltered North facing deck connects the Dining space to the Living area and affords varying views of the native vegetation. The Carport provides parking for 2 cars and has Storage either side, with outdoor Shower facilities. The house will expand and contract as the Dining space is used as a Meeting Room through the day. Plumbing is tentatively installed in the floor below the office Store to provide future flexibility and enable this zone to be re-fitted as a Bathroom in the future, while the Office can become two further Bedrooms, thus create a family home.


The home is divided into 1200mm bays with expressed vertical structure to create a sense of rhythm, while providing for efficiency in the use of materials, including plywood for the internal floor and ceiling. The warm palette of internal materials consists of Blackbutt internal lining boards, Bamboo plywood joinery, Black anodized aluminium sliding sash window frames, burnished brass and natural brass detail. There is nothing white or silver in the home, limiting the contrast with the surrounding environment. The minimal earthy palette brings the greens of the garden inside, connecting the occupants to the landscape.


Fixed copper louvres (pre-cambered to drop flat via gravity) traverse the North façade and act as mini-eaves, providing protection from the Summer sun while allowing Winter solar gain into the house.  Full height tinted charcoal mirror glass windows provide relief to the façade and reflect the bush setting of the site, with cross-ventilation provided via sashless vertically sliding openable windows throughout. Services include a 40,000L water tank collects water from the roof for watering the garden, wastewater sewage treatment plant with sub-surface irrigation, a 5kW grid connected photovoltaic (solar) system, hydronic heating, instantaneous hot water and open wood fire.


The property has been further planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses. An open swale creates an ephemeral stream within the rear garden, feeding water into a retention pond that fills during Winter, providing a watering hole through Spring for the native birds and various wildlife that live on and visit the property.

The home/office was designed over 2 years, with the construction process a further 2 years, prior to occupation. The finishing touches are being undertaken over an additional 5-6 years, with the total project timeframe anticipated at 10 years.