Playing with a full deck
“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”.