Phoenix House was a memorable project for architect and founder of Field Office Architecture Chris Barnes.
The brief was to create a comfortable holiday home for multiple families after their original cabin was destroyed in the 2014 bushfires.
This unique project had many demands including the highest bushfire rating which is heavily regulated, a restrictive site in bushland and a large number of clients.
The home had been in a large family for more than 50 years meaning there are 10 adult sibblings and their families who use it as a holiday home.
Despite the large number of people involved in the decision making, it was a good process and the clients were good to work with.
Located on the outskirts of the Grampians National Park the design reflected the space with earthy tones used outside.
Other elements that needed to be addressed were maintenance, comfort and the bushfire rating restrictions.
"Adversity creates more opportunity," Chris said.
"If you have a blank canvas you can end up paraylised by options.
"A typical project has the brief from the client, the budget and the site.
"Beyond that there is freedom but on this project it was not the case.
"We had to come up with solutions that work and fit the restrictions and think outside the box."
Bushfire resistance materials had to be used which was the reasoning behind the Core 10 steel exterior.
Windows had to be covered by steel mesh screen gaps no bigger than 3mm.
To make this user-friendly and attractive Chris designed them to slide behind the cladding when not in use.
The material selection also took maintenance into consideration.
"Ultimately the selection of materials made with the lowest amount of maintenance in mind that stand the test of time," Chris said.
Comfort and sustainability were also a focus.
"The home doesn't require a significant amount of mechanical cooling or heating," Chris said.
"It's a comfortable house, well insulated and it's oriented correctly to allow for plenty of natural light."
Windows are also strategically located to get cross flow ventilation to remove hot air from the home in warmer months.
This project was also unique in that Chris had the opportunity to stay in the home with friends after the build.
"You don't often get that opportunity," Chris said.
"It was great to see the quality of the internal spaces and see the indoor outdoor relationship between deck and living space.
"It's a comfortable, light-filled home that is non pretentious.
"You're surrounded by such beautiful landscape and bird life and it's a wonderful part of the world."
Chris has been working in the industry for 20 years.
He started his career in town planning before becoming an architect and working on international architecture for public and residential projects.
It was 80 years ago when Chris founded Field Office Architecture and started creating designs for a mix of country and city projects as well as some public work.
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