This innovative structure from Melbourne architecture firm Insite Design is a multi-faceted experience for living, witnessing, conserving, immersing: a place to commune with self, space and the environment.
Base Camp Chewton is situated ninety minutes from Melbourne on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, and was shortlisted at the World Architecture Festival Awards recently.
It's a compact, climate and occupant adaptable weekender on a sloping site, designed to sit off, yet be immersed within the landscape - and a pretty spectacular one at that - a region of rolling hills, eucalyptus forests and rocky outcrops. The house can open and close to nature, views and sun, and due to the extreme nature of the climate, Insite designed the building with a myriad of safety and comfort features (a number of them ecologically sound) including bushfire and ESD principles, solar hot water, a rainwater tank, low e double glazing and super insulation.
The north face incorporates giant sliding steel screens that control climate and articulate the façade, whilst the interior includes a beautiful Japanese-inspired bathhouse and tatami lounge that expands onto the screened veranda via a room-sized sliding door.
‘Wide view’ windows and ‘close up’ portholes punctuate the walls, framing particular views of the landscape in time, allowing occupants to consciously experience the bush at different moments of day, season or weather condition.
In the end, another Australian firm won the residential category at the WAF Awards, but we thought Insite's Base Camp was a very strong contender too - a space to hear the rain on roof, birds in trees, and to see the stars at night.
What more could you possibly want?
Photography: Ben Glezer