Text description provided by the architects. On a windy and exposed site, nestled behind a hill, sits a metal clad nugget; a home for a gold prospector and his family. Taking material and spatial cues from miner’s cottages and the country shed vernacular, this is a small house on a large rural block. Surrounded by pastoral rolling fields on the fringes of a state forest and proximate to a rich history of Victoria’s Gold Rush, the site is vast yet humble. The compact form was inspired by the client’s desire for retreat, and at under 100 square meters and for less than $260,000, was achieved for a similarly modest budget.
Galvanised steel and raw ironbark cladding blends with the landscape, the form appearing as if excavated from a contour. The raw exterior palette contrasts with rich interiors; window boxes of cow hide upholstery, pastel green tile accents, mild steel details and lime-washed ply joinery.
Internally, the planning is simple, compact and robust with a central core of timber battened acoustic fabric. The kitchen and wet areas not only work as a planning device to separate rooms spatially, but also work to absorb sound and provide acoustic warmth and privacy. Windows are positioned to channel views to the landscape, capture northern winter sun and direct cooling breezes. Prospect house is small, efficient, warm and light.
Realization of the project is in no small part owing to a quality focused local builder, careful, collaborative design resolution and locally supplied components. It is all about the outlook – toward the views and beyond to future prospects. It is about the exploration of a simple, sustainable way of life. The approach taken on this project is one of simple, low-tech passive solar design integrated into the project at the conceptual level.
Sitting on an exposed and windy site, the house is nestled behind a hill and cut into the contour to protect it from the elements. Oriented due north, the house maintains its internal climate through both a highly insulated envelope and insulated concrete slab designed to stabilise temperature through its thermal mass. Double glazed window boxes with north facing views provide cosy nooks, bathed with northern light in winter and protected from direct summer sun by steel awnings. Timber surfaces are left raw, painted finishes are low VOC, and fixtures and fittings are low energy and high efficiency.