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: : Arm End House


Arm End House is a purposeful attempt to create closeness with the coastal margin.

The main river view is glimpsed only on approach, allowing she-oak trees to provide shelter from prevailing winds and create a silhouetted tracery around the building; the soothing sound of the wind through them adds to the sense of calm (“witjweri” to the Tasmanian Aboriginals).

This helps give a sense of intimacy to an otherwise open site.

Materiality is raw. Celery cladding and movable exterior screens are allowed to weather on the northern façade. The southern facade is protected by a thick pre-cast natural concrete envelope. Protection and openness combine.

Internal spaces are enriched with blackwood & sassafras joinery. Changes in level enhance the spatial experience. Craftsmanship is emphasised as integral to the building process.

The scale and profile of the building is modest, to promote a gentle presence on the site; in part paying homage to the existing shacks along the Opossum Bay waterfront. The building holds to the architect’s and client’s principle of reducing building scale as a core principle of sustainability.

The Arm End House was recipient of both the 2009 AIA Tasmanian Chapter Award for Residential Architecture and the 2009 AIA National Commendation for Residential Architecture.

National Commendation for Residential Architecture - Houses
Jury Citation (AIA Tasmanian Chapter)
"Arm End House- Opossum Bay is located near the mouth of the Derwent estuary. The site of this house is protected from winds and screened from the water by a stand of old Casuarina trees, through which one can descend to a sandy beach.

The clients, a musician and his wife, wished for a “Zen” house of no more than two bedrooms, centred on a special room which made the most of the site. They wanted the house to be both a home and a place of contemplation and retreat, a sanctuary from busy, worldly lives.

The house is very carefully detailed, and in places has joinery elements which are based on musical rhythms. The essence of the design is centred on the T-shaped living space designed with golden mean proportions, which has greater height and a freestanding hearth. A serene mood prevails. Large glazed doors open to enfold and shelter neat gravel terraces, and to engage with northern views to mountains and western views over the Derwent filtered by Casuarina grove.
Projecting steel beams support wide sheltering eaves, and sliding screens temper the outlook from the bedrooms. The house turns a solid back to the south and has been designed with sustainability in mind: good thermal mass, rainwater harvesting and cross-ventilation are all evident."

Residential Architecture (Houses, New) Award
Jury Citation (AIA National Jury)
"The architect and client have developed a respect for this site which has wonderfully informed this project. A grove of she-oaks on the western and river edge of the property were significantly retained; and the building nestles behind the trees. The soft whistling she-oaks screen the building from prevailing winds and create subtle shadowing within the house. The river is glimpsed through the trees.

The built form alludes to a pair pf crossing pavilions floating above the ground. The entry passage houses a library in a detailed joinery shelf. The primary living area is a single room characterised by distinct zones. This space is enclosed by two sets of large doors, which when open allow spatial expansion onto the deck and garden. A central element in the house is a beautiful wood fireplace. This element is deliberately intended to provide a place for social congregation in the heart of the house. In this setting it is highly evocative of the campfire and past generations of visitors to the adjacent beach."

Photographer - Brett Boardman

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