Simon and Freda Thornton ARCHITECTS
The Big Bang House LOCH
The little town of Loch on the South Gippsland Highway in Victoria seemed like a sleepy conservative place when Simon visited it with a new client, Noel, who owned a block with rural views at the end of a street of modest traditional houses. But Noel had very different ideas for his own place.
Rather than a single house, he proposed a one-room guest house to be built first, giving him somewhere to live, followed later by a larger house with two bedrooms. Identifying with the owner-builder mudbrick sub-culture, Noel was determined to build his own home between landscaping jobs, and getting good exercise and saving money while doing it.
Simon was aware that anything he designed would seem out of place on this block. In fact it seemed that the design would be like a missile fired from the Thornton design studio to land in the hilly terrain of Loch. Well, actually two missiles! And simple though this concept seemed, it stuck and hence the two 'explosion' dwellings are organized around a central point with radiating lines, used to configure roof structure, walls and even pergolas.
The guest house, which comprises a single room with laundry and toilet off it, is constructed of concrete footings and a brick floor on sand. The walls are non-structural mud brick. The roof is held up by steel posts supporting galvanized pressed metal Hopleys trusses which are inexpensive as they are usually used for sheds. North-facing windows and doors manage to catch winter sun for warmth, and the pergola has become covered in shady deciduous vines since the photos were taken, keeping the sun off the glass in summer.
All so cosy and satisfactory that the question now is: will the second house ever get built?