Natural Appreciation – Red Hill House by Levesque & Derrick Architects
Tucked away, Red Hill House cleverly arranges a series of environmentally sensitive gestures as it responds to its Queensland climate and the surrounds. Levesque & Derrick Architects propose an inwardly focused home, warmly clad and connecting to a deep appreciation of the natural.
Nestled in amongst several existing properties, Red Hill House is on a battle-axe site with no direct street frontage. Yet it is able to create its own sense of personality and presence. As an embrace of its positioning, the home becomes a refuge of sorts for its owners and draws its focus inward around its own central open landscaped spaces. The family home, located in the same-named Red Hill, navigates a steeply sloping site with seeming ease, integrating key sustainable initiatives to ensure a sensitive and environmentally sensitive response in the process. In its unique location, the home becomes naturally surrounded by an established green band of neighbouring landscapes and rear gardens, allowing for an organic sense of disconnect and separation. Levesque & Derrick Architects recreate familiar settings though materiality and tone, further reinforcing a connection to the surrounds.
In the contrast created, where dark and lighter elements coexist, the selections feel harmonious and offer a calming overtone throughout, particularly through an open connection to nature.
Built by Greg Thornton Constructions, Red Hill House draws on a palette balanced by texture and softness. In the contrast created, where dark and lighter elements coexist, the selections feel harmonious and offer a calming overtone throughout, particularly through an open connection to nature. Clad in a series of untreated timber battens, the exterior is intended to patina and grey naturally over time, further adding to its textural diversity and catching of light. Due to the encompassing and borrowed landscapes from neighbours, the home itself becomes a blank canvas for shadows created by tree canopies, which change and move throughout the day and across the seasons. The restraint in materiality wrapping the overall form helps to catch those moving patterns and animate the home in the process.
Although traversing a sloping site, the home is formed as one single story and marks out an L-shape as it cradles its outdoor spaces. Opening up and allowing the home to breathe sees a row of operable louvres along the north-western façade, drawing air inward and through the home to passively cool the home. The combination of concrete underfoot and the positioning of overhangs also allows for an optimisation of solar gains and retention of heat as needed throughout the year. Referencing being under the canopy of a Moreton Bay Fig tree, the extended shading devices recreate a sheltered feeling, reinforced by the black ply ceiling extending internally.