Concrete Spirit – Blade House by Tecture

Words by Hayley Curnow
Architecture by Tecture
Photography by Timothy Kaye
Build by Nick Meredith
Interior Design by Tecture

With a commanding presence, Blade House by Tecture celebrates the strength and tactility of concrete construction. Nestled in regional New South Wales, the house skilfully tailors northern views to the forest in a whole-hearted embrace of the beauty of the countryside.

Tecture was tasked with designing a robust family home that would withstand bushfire threats from the neighbouring parkland while delivering a striking architectural expression. Concrete was nominated as the principal material early on, driving the design team to explore a new construction methodology and design sensibility. “Blade House is our first venture in concrete construction and marks an evolution of our practice,” says Ben Robertson, Director of Tecture.

Internally, the home’s rugged concrete walls are embraced as the primary material, continuing the architecture’s strength of expression.

Set amongst established housing, Blade House maintains a private yet prominent street presence – a graphic composition of concrete and timber. The clients’ active lifestyle demanded a large garage to house their boat, caravan, motorbikes and cars, which Tecture shrouded in timber as a continuation of the façade. A half-height retaining wall further obscures the presence of the garage, drawing focus to the home’s dramatic concrete blade walls – a beacon for the entry.

Upon arrival, movement is immediately directed to the upper level, where an expressed, double-height corridor casts long-ranging views to the forest. “The philosophy for the corridor spine was to ensure there was a consistent connection to the views that embraced the elevated siting,” reflects Ben. This linear volume also connects the two principal wings of the home – an open kitchen, dining and living space to the south, and a sequence of bedrooms and bathrooms to the north.

While the living spaces are linear in arrangement, fully glazed, operable façades to the north and south open laterally to broad terraces, extending the quality of space. A north-facing winter terrace draws in warm natural light, while an expansive summer terrace, complete with a barbeque plinth and fireplace, crafts an inviting setting to entertain, overlooking the pool and forest beyond. “The homeowners are granted privacy along the southern fringe, with no possibility of the nature reserve being built out – it’s a view just for them,” says Ben.

Internally, the home’s rugged concrete walls are embraced as the primary material, continuing the architecture’s strength of expression. The layering of mellow, locally sourced timber in ceilings and joinery lends warmth to the palette, which Ben reveals “avoids the impression of a stark, cool space.” Light, diaphanous curtains add further softness by gently tempering the quality of natural light.

Tecture worked closely with the clients to procure local materials and resolve the build.

With the dining and living space often in concurrent use, a bespoke dividing screen in timber and steel creates subtle privacy between settings, its minimalist form inviting personalisation with sculptural art and décor. Anchored to the east, the kitchen’s dramatic pairing of black and white finishes articulates a graphic composition of forms. Blocks of Calacatta D’oro marble cap the island bench ends, while black cabinetry and benchtops deliver a serviceable and minimalist cooking space for entertaining. An angular range hood shrouded in black steel and a full-height timber cupboard complete the tableau while the rear wall conceals a generous pantry and store, hiding ancillary appliances from view.

The home’s bedroom wing continues the interior language with a softened edge. Concrete floors transition to timber, while joinery, fittings and fixtures maintain deep contrasts in tone – a juncture of light and dark, textured and smooth. Warm timber envelops the main bedroom, with a bespoke timber and stone dresser presenting a tactile and finely crafted touchpoint leading to the robe and ensuite. Tecture designed the main ensuite as a refined space to retreat and unwind. A sleek stone vanity and timber shelf create a tailored feel, softened by a sheer curtain and ambient wall lighting. Taking centre stage, a circular black tub emphasises mood and stillness. The curved surrounding walls create a fluted effect, gently animating the perimeter with shadow and light.

Upon arrival, movement is immediately directed to the upper level, where an expressed, double-height corridor casts long-ranging views to the forest.

Tecture’s sister company, SideProject Projects, was responsible for the home’s furniture procurement, styling and accessories, which favoured authentic, Australian-made products. A dramatic, branched pendant light floats over the entry void, designed by local Melbourne designer Christopher Boots, while a bespoke study desk, designed in collaboration with furniture maker Daniel Poole, celebrates the timeless beauty of timber craftsmanship. Australian furniture from the likes of Tait, Jardan and grazia&co combine with the clients’ collection of Australian art, imbuing Blade House with a relaxed sensibility. “It was important that the home was finished with furniture, lighting, art and décor in tones and materials that harmonised with the architecture,” says Ben.

Tecture worked closely with the clients to procure local materials and resolve the build. The family’s son, Nick, built the home with the help of his father and brother, infusing Blade House with personal sentiment. Being a regional hub, many friends and connections were relied on to establish local supply, reducing the quantity of material being shipped from Melbourne and abroad. “We were also conscious of cost and being respectful of the regional location,” says Ben. “It was about creating a home for the family to enjoy, without over-capitalising.” The process of creating Blade House fostered a lasting friendship between Tecture and the clients, built on a foundation of genuine sincerity and trust. “The project gave us an opportunity to go outside our typical realm – it was a journey for us all and a chance to consider our detail-driven approach to design on a much higher level,” Ben reflects.

Indeed, as big believers in structure, clean lines, considered movement and holistic design, Tecture has exemplified the practice’s guiding principles through the design of Blade House. Complete with a dog and laundry yard, service road and an area to stack firewood, the project holds the homeowners’ active lifestyle at heart – a spirited house that celebrates the simplicity and richness of regional life.