Lewis House

Dunkeld, Victoria, Australia

This is a small weekend retreat located in archetypal ‘Australian Bush’ and it is the first time our architecture has been tested in such a context. The spectacular isolation of a site without any services and riddled with venomous snakes, kangaroos and 500 year old eucalypt trees is vastly different from the coastal, urban and suburban contexts of our previous work. It has given us new appreciation of the work of Glen Murcutt, whose seminal works were made in these kinds of settings. At the same time we wanted to question the notion that Australian bush architecture ‘should touch the earth lightly’ and by doing so be somehow entirely deferential to context. Instead this building, by touching the earth very lightly, elevates itself from the ground plane to create its own scale in the landscape. It sets up a direct dialogue with the mountain range to the east and the 300+ year old messmate tree to the west.

As well this building combines earlier notions of the abstract verandah or exoskeleton with the discrete spaces of the Flinders House to create a Semper like hut in the middle of nowhere.