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Karri Loop House

The large Eucalyptus found on the plot played an essential part in shaping the concept of this house. While the clients recognized their majestic quality, they were hesitant to retain them as they believed it would be impossible to construct a generous family home on the block. However, this pre-existing condition was what ‘made’ an otherwise anonymous site and extraordinary one. After consulting a leading arborist, the house was carefully designed around those old and magnificent trees, enabling family life to unfold in between. As a result, the house bridges in between the tree-trunks, and its outline defines two open courtyards of irregular shape that embrace the trees and the surrounding landscape. A tall window in the dining area and a periscope-like skillion in the master bedroom celebrate the presence of the trees within the house, framing views of both foliage and peeling trunks in the golden afternoon light. In visual and tactile response to the trees and the surrounding forested area, the house was constructed of plywood, whose grain and texture inform interior and exterior spaces. The dark and somewhat abstract form was conceived as a complementing visual and scenic background to the surrounding vegetation to further enhance the presence of the trees.  The house is fully constructed out of sustainably sourced timber, with extensive use of exposed and concealed LVLs, and different types of plywood as external cladding and interior lining and joinery. Straw-bales insulation was used in all external walls in a further effort to contain the environmental impact of construction. Though contributing strongly to the quality of the project, the trees’ shallow root systems and unstable large canopies presented a challenge to the house’s build-ability. The coordination and integration of different competencies and skills (an arborist, structural engineer, timber-prefabrication company and traditional carpentry craft-man) was crucial in being able to respond to such challenges and successfully complete the project. The footing system employed a matrix of hand-dug steel tripods raising the house off the ground to protect the tree roots and to avoid any digging. To minimize change in watering patterns, rainwater collected on the roof is taken under the house, channelled into trickling irrigation pipes and evenly fed to the roots.

Karri Loop House

Karri Loop House

Margaret River, Australia, Private House, 300 sqm

2013

2014 Western Australia Architecture Awards: Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
2014 Houses Awards: Commendation (National)
2013 Australian Timber Design Award: Best project overall in Western Region
2013 Australian Timber Design Award: Best use of Timber Panels
2013 Geoffrey Sanderson Trophy for Best use of Engineered Woods Products (Australia)