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Into the Horizon

Josh Driscoll Creative

Into the Horizon

Josh Driscoll Creative
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The 2024 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year, named ‘Horizon’ for its endless views, is a symphony of bold asymmetric lines, crisply articulated in off-form concrete, steel and glass.

Gabrielle Chariton

Author

Contributor to Housing

BCM Homes

A demanding yet spectacular site, an adventurous design solution, and a builder who thrives on a technical challenge – these were the makings of the 2024 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year, 2024 HIA Australian Custom Built Home, and 2024 HIA-CSR Australian People’s Choice Home award winner.

Separation Creek is a tiny coastal village located on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It is a wild, rugged part of the world, where rocky, scrub-covered hillsides descend dramatically towards the beach.

The HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year – named ‘Horizon’ for its endless views – is perched on one of these steep seaside escarpments. A striking symphony of bold asymmetric lines and angles, crisply articulated in off-form concrete, steel and glass, the house is every bit as dramatic as its location.

Horizon has been named the 2024 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year.
Off-form concrete, steel and glass are as dramatic as the home’s location.

Visually, the home has an intriguing dichotomy - the rear nestles snugly against the hillside, following the natural fall of the land, and the seaward elevation sweeps out in a razor-fine point towards the ocean. This was a considered and deliberate design response from the architect, Crosier Scott Architects’ Alan Cubbon, who sought to balance the built form with its surrounding environment.

‘Horizon’ is a true passion project, envisioned and created by builder David Moyle of BCM Homes as a holiday house for his family. ‘We wanted to do something different, and we knew we wanted to be at Separation Creek because it’s just a beautiful part of the world,’ David says. His brief to Alan – who he has known and worked with for many years – focused on comfort, sustainability and capturing the coastal and bushland views.

BCM Homes, established by David in 2005, is a multi-award-winning company that works across the spectrum – commercial, house and land packages, and high-end custom builds –focusing on sustainability and supporting the local Ballarat community. David is a problem-solver with an eye for innovation and a clear passion for his craft. Over the years, he has forged a reputation for tackling technically complex projects. So, it’s perhaps not surprising that when Alan warned him about the ‘off the charts’ difficulty factor, David’s response was, ‘Don’t worry about that, you just design it, and we will build it.’

The home was constructed with skill and uncompromising quality at every turn.
The 13-metre drop from top of the building to the bottom required extensive site prep.

‘We didn't appreciate how technically difficult it was going to be until we were on the ground,’ he says.

Despite such large-scale complexity, the house was constructed with an unusual level of skill and sensitivity. ‘From the biggest technical and logistical challenges, down to the smallest of details, care, attention to detail and an uncompromising focus on quality is on full display at every turn,’ said the HIA judges. ‘All trades have clearly gone above and beyond.’

After three years of design and planning, the team broke ground in February 2021. Due to the unforgiving site, with a 13-metre drop from the top of the building site to the bottom, extensive site prep and engineering work were required.  ‘It was four months of site excavations and foundation works. We had to do some complex retaining wall works initially. Some foundations go down seven metres into the highly weathered basalt rock, and we exported about 1,700 cubic metres of soil.’

A heavyweight construction method, utilising off-form concrete and a steel-framed roof, enabled full expression of the complex design while complying with BAL 40 bushfire requirements and enhancing the home’s overall energy efficiency. All the concrete – 1000 tons in total – was poured on site. ‘The concrete was brought in by over 103 truck deliveries from the plant over two hours away, making the programming and timing critical,’ David says. ‘The concrete pumping aspect was also very complex because we had to pump long distances. Every truck had to be reversed up to the site, through windy and steep roads for about 200 metres.

‘There were some days down there I started to wonder what I was doing, and why was I doing it, but we fought through. The team was incredible.’

The board-form finish, with the timber grain imprint, offers a strong linear texture that underpins the home’s aesthetic. ‘Working with concrete and glass, you have absolutely no tolerance. We’re talking millimetre perfection. I was so proud of the form workers and the carpentry on site because some of the things we cast were in excess of 300 tons per pour, and we had no issues at all. Everything stayed true and straight.’

Kitchen bench and bathroom washbasins were all crafted from concrete on site.
After three years of design and planning, the team broke ground in February 2021.

While the concrete anchors the home to the hillside, the steel butterfly roofline seems poised to take flight. The BCM Homes team worked closely with Tuddy’s Engineering, who supplied and installed the 18.5 tons of structural steel. ‘The largest component ended up being 17 metres long by 3.2 wide,’ David says. The eaves, which soar up and away from the walls, are clad in Alucobond, sleek and streamlined, in direct contrast to the textured concrete.

Inside, Horizon is 326 sq/metres of quiet luxury and bespoke finishing. The front door – 1500mm wide, finished in a Venetian concrete render – opens onto a lavish open-plan kitchen/dining/living space. Banks of retractable, frameless floor-to-ceiling glass seamlessly connect the interiors to the panoramic views beyond. The home is set over two storeys, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a 600-bottle wine cellar and a glass-fronted games room.

The palette hovers between raw and refined.
The steel butterfly roofline seems poised to take flight.

The palette hovers between raw and refined: burnished concrete floors imbue the space with a velvety richness. The kitchen bench and bathroom washbasins were all crafted from concrete on site. ‘They were a real challenge because of the concrete burnished floors. We couldn't just fix any sort of formwork or anything down. It all had to be manually laid.’

One of the stand-out elements of the interiors, and something that caught the HIA judges’ eyes in particular, is the extensive use of joinery. Intricately, expertly crafted timberwork is everywhere: the Tasmanian Oak veneer doors, painstakingly pattern-matched kitchen cabinets and the island bench. A feature wall linking the home’s two storeys is crafted from 45 sq/m of Tasmanian oak battens. ‘It was important just to take that edge off all that coldness and dark concrete,’ David says.

Floor-to-ceiling glass seamlessly connects the interiors to the panoramic views beyond.
David says: ‘I'm most proud of the level of finish; the team just came together so well.’

Horizon was finally completed in September 2022, and David and his family are ‘absolutely delighted’ with their holiday home. ‘I'm most proud of the level of finish,’ he adds.

‘The team just came together so well. Every little detail was scrutinised. Given its remote location and complexities, having such a high-quality finish really makes me very, very proud.’

While winning awards is part of BCM Homes’ DNA, David says that seeing this project move up the ranks to win the national HIA award has been extremely exciting. ‘We’re so humbled to be able to take a national award at this calibre back to regional Victoria. I’ve grown up in Ballarat and being able to deliver this to the region is fantastic.’

Horizon at a glance

Awards

2024 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year | 2024 HIA Australian Custom Built Home | 2024 HIA-CSR Australian People’s Choice Home

Partnered by

Home of the Year: CSR. Custom Built Home: ActronAir. People’s Choice Home: CSR

Builder

BCM Homes

Location

Separation Creek, Victoria

Materials:

External

  • External walls: Concrete, 150mm board form finish in situ
  • Roofing: Trimdek in shale grey from Colorbond
  • Cladding: Corten cladding, Cassette cladding
  • Eaves: Alucobond Infinity eaves from Alucobond Plus
  • Woodfire pizza oven: Zesti
  • Driveway: Geostone Star washed aggregate from Holcim Australia, 
  • Architectural landscaping: Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping.

Internal

  • Floors: Burnished concrete, 350mm thick
  • Pivot entry door: 1500mm wide, Venetian concrete render
  • Feature panelling: Tasmanian oak battens
  • Fireplace: Oblica, imported from France
  • Feature tiling: 400x800mm matt white tiles
  • Basins, bath and washplane sinks: Burnished in-situ concrete
  • Automation: Keyless entry, keypad and fob controlled
  • Benchtops: Burnished in-situ concrete
  • Appliances: Bosch Series 8 dishwasher; Westinghouse induction cooktop 
  • Doors: Handmade with Tasmanian oak 4mm veneer face.

First published on 27 May 2024

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