Play­ing with a full deck

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - THE ARCHITECT - margie fraser

“It was like an over­grown botan­i­cal gar­den,” re­calls ar­chi­tect Dan Sparks of the house site he first vis­ited in the Sun­shine Coast hin­ter­land. The 10-hectare block boasted bands of rain­for­est in­ter­sected by a creek and ponds, com­plete with a wa­ter­fall. Perched on a ridge of the Black­all Range near Montville, the views west take in a stretch of wa­ter of Ba­roon Pocket Dam, as well as the dis­tant moun­tains.

“The view to the west is mind-blow­ing,” says Sparks, “so it was a must to ad­dress it.” He de­signed sun­screens con­cealed within the sof­fits that drop down au­to­mat­i­cally on hot sum­mer af­ter­noons. “They take out 85 per cent of the heat load.”

The house was de­signed as two pavil­ions: one has the liv­ing ar­eas and main bed­room, the other a guest pav­il­ion with a gym and study. A court­yard or “canyon” is formed be­tween the two struc­tures, which are skewed at op­pos­ing an­gles to cap­ture and frame views to the im­me­di­ate and dis­tant land­scapes. “The en­try canyon creates its own mi­cro­cli­mate and is the hub of the home, a bit like a town square,” says Sparks. The out­door room has a pond, and din­ing and loung­ing zones.

The own­ers, a re­tired cou­ple from the Colorado moun­tains (him) and western Queens­land (her), wanted a large house to ac­com­mo­date ex­tended fam­ily gath­er­ings as well as guests. Sparks hon­oured both her­itages in his choice of ma­te­ri­als. Spinal walls are of rammed earth, and tim­ber and glass fea­ture. The earthy pal­ette is sup­ple­mented by cop­per light fit­tings and dark­ened steel el­e­ments. A long, skinny deck down one side was chris­tened the “sheep’s run”, while the ex­pan­sive can­tilevered western deck is the “sun­set deck” and a small pri­vate deck to the east is the “sun­rise deck”.

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