Local home: Hobart’s Cordwell Lane takes top HIA honours
One of the main reasons Cordwell Lane’s Taroona project blew this year’s HIA judges away was the perfect balance achieved between the use of raw materials and the creation of a warm family home, writes JARRAD BEVAN
After a hiatus from awards competitions, Hobart builders Cordwell Lane jumped back into the pool this year in a big way, taking out the Tasmanian Home of the Year award at the recent HIA-CSR showcase of the best of 2016.
Cordwell Lane director Scott Cordwell said the project was a dynamic collaboration with local architect Stuart Tanner – who he has worked with many times over the years – and their client.
“This home, the River’s Edge House, was very much about raw materiality,” he said. “It is a raw concrete and raw timber building, which appealed to our client.
“They wanted a family home but not a typical suburban house. They were happy to look at things from a unique and different angle to the norm and that gave us the freedom to explore, to test and to come up with samples up of what could be achieved.”
In a design like this one, the timber is clearly timber and the concrete like concrete; it is stripped back to its raw elements instead of covered in plaster, render or paint.
Scott described it as a “raw expression of the materials”.
He said judges were usually tight lipped when inspecting a property but they did let slip that they were blown away by the raw materials highlighted in this house and the balancing act to retain the warmth and feel of a family home.
“That was the real trick to this project,” he said. “The judges understood the heart and the craft of this build.”
One of the many techniques the team used gave the concrete in the interiors a textured character instead of a typical shiny surface.
They used a water-blasted, grainy and expressive plywood sheet to give the concrete a unique look and feel.
The soft warmth of the timber used throughout the home, combined with the concrete, hit the mark perfectly.
“You can see in the end product that this was a project that had an element of discovery along the way; it was cared for and crafted,” Scott said.
“When building something unique, it is vital to give your client the confidence that they aren’t going too far out on a limb. I’d call our client courageous.”
In a fun twist at the HIA ceremony, Scott accidentally missed the announcement of the Home of the Year category – but he did not mind. “I missed the spotlight and the streamers because I was out the back talking with a sponsor,” he said. “It was great, actually, a funny thing that didn’t bother me one bit.”