Ageing in place was at the core of the client’s brief for this house which sits on a 760m2 block with a North East facing front. This agenda dictated that the main bedroom and living areas be located on one level. The two guest bedrooms are upstairs with individual ensuites attached.

The general configuration of the plan provides for two parallel North facing pavilions. Sandwiched between is a private open space for outdoor living and alfresco kitchen. A small plunge pool in the courtyard adds to the mix in both functional and aesthetic senses.

O'Connor house - adjustable sun shading blinds

One of the main features of this new dwelling built in the Canberra suburb of O’Connor is a large two-storey rammed earth wall running down the long axis of the house. Rammed earth walls have high thermal mass which means that they have the ability to store any free energy donated by the sun through North facing windows. In addition to the heat storage trick, rammed earth has great sound insulation, fire resistance, durability, moisture resistance, breathability and low toxicity…and frankly it looks stunning. The softness of the natural material and the clean lines of the modern aesthetic come together in this house to give a very individual and site specific response. The rammed earth walls have been moulded to frame an important collection of paintings and works of art.

The kitchen is relatively large; a chef’s kitchen if you like, with dual ovens, a generous island and butler’s pantry.  The house contains a North facing family meals kitchen area, a formal lounge dining as an evening space and a significant wine cellar basement doubling up as a movie theatre tucked in below.