Robinsons Run
Robinsons Run sits below a stone escarpment on Wodi-Wodi Country. The architecture of this house is defined by four principles; the precious commodities of space and time, the opportunity for immersion in the sensual experiences of nature, a building of responsible luxury and sustainability, and deference to its context.
Year
2022
Location
Budgong, NSW
Size
Team
Dominic Bennett, John Wilkin, Paul Barton, Sarah Canavan
Photographer
Brett Boardman
Media

Robinson’s Run sits below a stone escarpment on Wodi Wodi Country. Originally conceived as a weekender, the brief shifted after bushfire devastated the property in 2019. Our clients saw an opportunity to re-generate the whole property and continue the story of this site.         The brief is defined by four principles:

 

Precious Commodities of Space and Time - as the world becomes busier and more densely populated, the intrinsic value of these commodities increases. The design must protect and nurture them.

 

Immersion in the Sensual Experiences of Nature – the smell and sound of falling rain, a cool breeze on your skin during the day, the warmth of wood fire at night, and the colour of the escarpment being painted by the setting sun. These sensual experiences are not to be locked outside an air conditioned box.

 

Responsible Luxury and Sustainability – Without sacrificing amenity, the design must employ tested design principles alongside low embodied-energy materials and the best sustainable technologies.

 

A Place to Visit – Embodying the spirit of the weekender, the design must take advantage of opportunities for unexpected and special moments which are not restricted by the pragmatics of everyday life.

A Stile is an agricultural fence element allowing people to cross paddock boundaries. Before the bushfires, a heavily weathered example stood on this site at a point where the full range of close and distant views was available. We took this as both a geometric and programmatic cue for the siting and design of the house.

 

Arrival is through a spatially constrained rammed earth portal. This entry opens to a covered external living pavilion celebrating the escarpment view to the north. Beyond this, four pavilions (living, sleeping, master and play) loosely radiate around the entry, both in plan and level. Each pavilion is anchored by connection to rammed earth, with all other facades being operable glazing. Movement between the pavilions means passing through an external area.

 

This arrangement encourages awareness of the elements and blurs the line between building and place. It offers spatial experiences ranging from cool protected spaces, through ground level spaces bleeding into the landscape, to elevated spaces capturing views.

  

Devastation caused by recent bushfires is now part of the story of this place, through salvage and re-use. Fallen trees were milled on site and built back into the fabric of the building. Rusty star pickets were also re-used in gates and screens, and a sculptural puddle of molten shed wall was salvaged and cast into the building.

 

Sustainability is also focused on appropriate solar orientation and protection, material selections such as rammed earth (which has a low embodied energy with fantastic thermal mass characteristics, is non-toxic and naturally termite resistant), rainwater capture and reuse, solar collection and storage.

We have fond memories enjoying Robinson’s Run with our kids as they grew up and saw an opportunity to capture those memories and start a new chapter in its history. Our vision was for a beautiful, responsible, and uniquely Australian house where friends could gather and enjoy the luxuries of open space and downtime. We love the Australian bush and wanted the house to capture its raw sensations, celebrate the landscape, and encourage guests to experience the elements. The house nurtures, protects and excites as you experience the spaces, and the raw, reclaimed and textured materials enhance the journey.
Ian and Michelle
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