Wakanui Trail House, Northcote Melbourne

Wakanui Trail House, Northcote, Melbourne Architecture, Contemporary Australian Design, Images

Wakanui Trail House in Northcote

27 Sep 2022

Architecture: Ben Callery Architects

Location: Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne

Photos: Jack Lovel Photography

Wakanui Trail House

Wakanui Trail House is a home for a family of avid campers that embodies their affinity for the outdoors, while offering a deep connection with our natural environment and fostering connections between family members within the house.

Wakanui Trail House Northcote

The site backs onto Northcote’s All Nations Park with a meandering trail through native bush and mature eucalypts.

The double height void space frames the views of the beautiful trees while bringing in natural light, warming winter sun and connecting spaces across levels.
We’re interested in the ability of biophilic design to nurture a love of place by connecting us with nature. Visual connection with the environment and use of natural materials. Interaction with elements, sun and airflow to create natural comfort and use of dynamic and diffuse light to connect occupants with the movement of the sun while passively warming spaces.

Spatial strategies of prospect and refuge, mystery and risk, create a dramatic relationship with nature. The ground-floor study nook and first-floor bedroom provide secluded refuge from which the alluring prospect of treetops are viewed through the double heigh void. Mystery in the form of the enticing distant views of the parkland beyond the living room, across the back yard and through the transparent back fence invite the spirit of exploration.
A sense of slight risk is created by the cantilevered balcony and open void’s slender balustrades stimulating a feeling exhilaration while drawing out to the visual connection with the nature beyond.

Wakanui Trail House Northcote

Of course being so open to the public realm also prompts the need to control the sense of exposure. Internal sheers and external venetians allow the occupants to operate the rear façade and attenuate transparency and control solar gain. Layers of depth in planting and built form help obscure and blurr the rear boundary. And having lived there for six months now, they love the transparent back fence and have decided not to grow dense plants on it.

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne

Raw and honest locally sourced materials are used throughout. Vic Ash lining boards, Tas Oak flooring and Vic Ash slats, bathed in the natural light, express the warmth inherent in this place. Timber slats block summer sun while preventing overlooking of neighbouring properties. Their angle uses the synergy between the bevel inherent in their resource-efficient radial sawing and the angle of the low winter sun to provide passive solar heating.

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne

Hand-made craft is expressed throughout. Timber rafters from the existing roof were salvaged and re-used for the feature sliding doors and dining room pendant light. In-situ concrete was crafted for the benchtop and floating hearth. Apart from those and the stumps, no other concrete was used, in preference for timber sub floor structure, heavily insulated, as a lower embodied energy, renewable approach to thermally sound building.

The sustainable design aspirations are complemented by a decision to go off gas, using all electric appliances, hot water, hydronic heating and cooling combined with solar power.

The openable void connects spaces and occupants while allowing selective seclusion. The study, partially enclosed by a bookshelf, meets our evolving needs to work from home, separated from, while open to the living rooms and view beyond.

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Wakanui Trail House Northcote

Architect: Ben Callery Architects – Melanie Beynon AD

Wakanui Trail House Northcote Melbourne

Photographer: Jack Lovel Photography

Wakanui Trail House, Northcote Melbourne images / information received 270922

Location: Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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