Controlled Contrast – Hepburn Springs House by Telha Clarke
Hepburn Springs, VIC, Australia
Overlooking the adjacent gully, Hepburn Springs House sits tucked into its landscape, offering a private escape from city life. Telha Clarke brings contrasting materiality to sit in tension on the site, through a proposal of bold yet subtle references to familiar forms.
Positioned to be concealed from the street, a meandering entrance experience allows visitors to engage with the landscape upon approach. Overlooking the gully below, the familiar forms open the home in moments of tension and release to direct and curate views outward toward the surrounding native bush landscape. Employing both boldness and subtlety, Telha Clarke brings an approach of controlled contrast, referencing familiar architectural forms of the agricultural and residential vernaculars.
Overlooking the adjacent gully, Hepburn Springs House sits tucked into its landscape, offering a private escape from city life.
The home is in Victoria’s Hepburn Valley, an area whose abundance of natural resources means it enjoys the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia. This naturally rich milieu and the geographic qualities of the site informed the design. Over 20 significant trees that needed to be preserved were identified on the site, which is one of continual undulation, with natural inclines and plateaus offering an element of relief. Echoing these natural patterns, Hepburn Springs House has its own rhythm, and its position on a landing of its own allows the built form to engage intimately with the natural landscape.
The bushland context required a robust response. The resulting forms are both sharp and solidly framed, clad in materials that will endure and complement the project’s position within the landscape. In an area with a high level of potential bushfire danger, the possibilities of ember attack meant the building envelope needed to be resilient. The main form is a simple extrusion of the agricultural gable shed, and its cladding in fire-resistant slate shingles is a nod to the traditional.
Internally, the intentional breakdown of the whole into more intimate zones allows a sense of connection between spaces, while the apertures offer a connection to the outside world. In turn, these dormer windows and deep reveals of glass offer a relief from the whole. Taking inspiration from the client’s inner-urban Melbourne abode, Hepburn Springs House’s refined junctions and detailing cleverly bring all elements together with the convenience of a permanent residence. The palette is intentionally minimal, warmed with muted natural timber and contemporary metal detailing.
Telha Clarke brings contrasting materiality to sit in tension on the site, through a proposal of bold yet subtle references to familiar forms.
Adopting essential principles and references to familiar forms, Telha Clarke conjures an occasional home beautifully immersed in nature.