Z House / Donovan Hill

© Jon Linkins

Architects: Donovan Hill
Location: 58 Teneriffe Drive, Newstead / Teneriffe Q 4006,  Australia
Client: Stephen Zarb
Design Team: Timothy Hill, Brian Donovan, Paul Jones, Michael Hogg
Project Team: James Davidson, Jodie Cummins, Anna O’Gorman, Robert Myszkowski, Martin Arroyo, Peter Harding, Sandy Cavill, Briohny Mc Kauge
Structural Engineer: Wayne Kerkow (TFA Project Group)
Hydraulics Engineer: Phil Lucas (Steve Paul & Partners)
Landscape Architect: Timothy Hill (Design), Steven Clegg Design (DD and Construction)
Building Contractor: James Trowse Constructions
Date of construction completion: September 2008
Gross floor area: 350 sqm
Photos: John Linkins, Sam Thiess

Conceptual Framework
Many enjoyable homes are made in buildings that were not meant to be houses…they have a certain autonomous presence that has enduring appeal. There is an attempt here to make a timelessly functional pinwheel/courtyard building that preserves a piece of the hillside to serve as the memorable marvel of the place. It is interesting to attempt this on a site with an ideal view, to test what is more timelessly enduring; the terrain or the prospect, (a theme relentlessly pursued by the Japanese).
There is much Australian discussion of relating buildings to landscape. This scheme speculates about pushing the garden as the prime to phenomena among reticent rooms…a phenomena not just to look at but to be with.

© Jon Linkins

Public and cultural benefits
Within the streetscape the overscaled portal, which is a feature of the approach elevation,
captures several views within its frame; from adjacent hillside vantage points one can see through the building to other fragmented hillsides, precious pieces of the interior decoration and the clambering vegetation.

Relationship of built form to context
The building form is modelled on the hillside generally with all its precariousness and clambering characteristics. It harmlessly towers above its northern neighbour in a very Brisbane way. It offers abstracted gravel terraces to those who overlook from the south.
The site boundaries are deliberately undeliniated to allow the hillside vegetation to sluice about.

© Shantanu Starick

Program resolution

A brief that suited rehearsing prior studio themes; a house that facilitated various forms of household.

Integration and allied Discipline
Structural single skin brickwork required engineering, manufacturer and contractor support

Cost / Value outcome
rading interior linings for well crafted set pieces benefits the experience

© Sam Thiess

Comfortable environmental conditions are anticipated by relying on optimal building orientation, thermal mass developing by being ‘against’ and ‘under’ the earth, cooling from adjustable cross ventilation and centralising a micro climate. Intensive, deliberate shade planting, festooned creepers, tectonic floral pieces and protective trellising are additionally heaped into the composition to further finesse the building’s environmental performance and patination. In this way the weathering materials and detailing of the building, the deployment of the ventilation using picturesque openings, and the contrived landscape form and plantings are combined.
The planning scheme, protecting roof and self weathering materials should not require much energy to change or renew the building over time.

© Shantanu Starick

Response to client and users needs
The design of the ‘wondrous’ inner sanctum concentrates local reactions as the house can be open yet secure during rain events while during dry spells the solar gain is mediated through shaded building mass and adjustably ventilated openings.
The proprietor has become a keen gardener.

Cite: "Z House / Donovan Hill" 01 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=66577>