Outwardly Focused – Caretakers House by Aphora
Owning its impact on the landscape and wider ecology, Caretakers House is a reimagining of an existing cottage through a sensitive lens. Aphora combines a familiar warmth and rural references in the careful reimagining of the existing structure, embedding relevance and furthering its next chapter.
Perched on the edge of existing farmland in Byron Bay, Caretakers House takes its name from its past life as the residence for the caretaker of the land. As an enlivening of the existing form and extending its significance and liveability through a contemporary lens, the resulting home aims to sit lightly in place. With locality as a focus and a shared ethos of those choosing to live in Byron Bay also, ideas around community and supporting local makers also form primary parts of the brief for the resulting home. As such, a shared philosophy underpins each decision and gesture, with each measured against the environmental, social and broader effect. Aphora combines the familiar, known rural warmth with a respectful approach to the resounding impact in proposing the new works.
Built by JMG Build and with landscape design by LARC Collective, Caretakers House is intended as a health-focused home for its owners – a health that extends to the quality of those that live there but also to the impact the building itself has on the surrounds. Within these idyllic surrounds and enviable landscape, such natural elements become a key focus and the resulting spaces become a sanctuary amongst the setting. The idea of escape and living naturally and with nature form a core philosophy that supports the caring for the land. Avoiding the ill-fitting and common building materials of the area, which are neither appropriate to the conditions nor connect to the narrative of the area, timber is used both internally and externally and adds a welcomed warmth and texture in the process.
Despite access to plentiful land and expanse, the approach focuses on appropriateness and on creating a scale that remains reflective and relevant of those living within. Continuing the story of the home and its history, being founded on a place to shelter within the landscape as the focus, was important. The resulting additional form sits as modestly as the original, referencing the shape and scale of the cottage and creating a natural binding between the forms. Optimising orientation, openings allow for natural illumination and cross breezes internally, allowing the home to both breathe and exist in harmony with the land. Integrating systems that capture and store energy and water further reduces the reliance on outside energy and its resulting impact.