Challenge is a word that comes up again and again when discussing Fish Creek House with its builder, Gil Trease. Conceptually, in construction, and even in completion, this sleek piece of architecture takes us a step beyond our conventional notions of housing.
The home was designed to work in synchrony with its impossibly beautiful – yet challenging – southern Victorian site. The awkwardly shaped block is bordered by a country highway along its western boundary and bisected down its length by an electricity easement.
‘There was only a narrow wedge to squeeze a house onto, between the electricity grid and the eastern boundary fence,’ Gil explains. Not ideal, but the owners were sold on the breathtaking views over the Gippsland coastline.
Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland from Edition Office were engaged to design the home. They met the challenge with signature flair, creating a long, narrow structure that sprawls along the north-south axis, flanked on three sides by a brick wall that shields the western elevation from the road, the onerous weather, and, like blinkers on a horse, directs the internal focus entirely toward the wild, windswept views.
Cocooned within this brick wall, the home comprises three timber-clad pavilions, intersected with north-facing, suntrap courtyards and linked by glass walkways.
Edition Office ticked every box on the client brief: the house is large enough to accommodate extended family, yet cleverly zoned so that sections can be closed off when not in use. The passive-solar design ensures year-round comfort with a negligible environmental footprint. And the view, of course, is everywhere – ‘glanced or framed or encompassed’.
Trease Builders were brought in once the architects’ plans were council-approved, and the project was ‘built on my office desk’ before so much as a hammer met nail, Gil says.
‘All these jobs are about research, experience and knowledge. To build something like this house you have to identify and resolve any potential problems with the design and materials well before construction begins on site.’