Concrete serves to unify the indoor and outdoor elements of the Oak House; visually softening the interior palette and providing a sense of stability. It’s used structurally throughout the new sections of the home; most visibly in the green roof that sits atop the sunken lounge. ‘The top and bottom of this suspended roof slab are both concrete, so you get a concrete soffit,’ Christopher explains. The seamless transitioning between floor and ceiling, internal and external, was executed with a rare precision: ‘It’s really carefully detailed so you don’t see the junctions between the underside of the soffit and where it becomes external walling’.
Underpinning the entire home, functionally and aesthetically, are the bold red gridlines of a Brise Soleil, a shade structure that serves to protect the north-facing elevation from excess heat gain.
‘Essentially, it’s a solar screen that stands off the building and works to control the light and heat,’ Christopher explains. ‘It absorbs that initial solar heat gain and then releases it via air circulation.’
The Brise Soleil was custom designed and constructed by Weiss Builders, and Christopher considers it a crucial element for the project. ‘At 15 metres long, it was a great challenge to get right!’ he says.
The architects brief was for an ‘extruded, monolithic form’, originally imagined in steel. ‘We had to rethink many aspects of this structure to be confident it would stand the test of time and still achieve the architect’s vision.’
The resulting aluminium structure represents a feat of engineering: ‘There are no visible connectors and it’s lightweight, it’s durable,’ Christopher says. ‘We’re really proud of this piece.’ It’s an imposing presence in the courtyard, but also has a ‘spectacular’ impact on the interiors, he adds, thanks to the ever-changing shadow patterns it creates.