Premaydena House by Misho + Associates, Set in a breathtakingly beautiful Arcadian landscape of rolling farmland and forested hills with a sublime view of Norfolk Bay, this house is a subtle re-purposing and a thoroughly appropriate application of the Japanese aesthetic in a distinctly different climate and landscape using contemporary materials, notably steel.
Inspired by Japanese tea-houses, this modest retreat uses steel framing and sliding steel screens to great effect. Colour-matched to a local lichen, the orange screens are at once highly visible yet beautifully integrated into the landscape palette. And whereas the Granny Flat embraces its sub-tropical climate and beachy location in Queensland with a casual openness, this carefully layered architectural response is ideally tempered for its rugged Tasmanian site, where the weather can change dramatically and quickly. Pull back the screens and every room opens to the view, or close them over to create a warm cocoon inside with the combustion stove ablaze.
- The Premaydena house sits on a low podium on a largely wooded site. Lightness, simple modular proportions, screening and layering – inspires the house. To address the issue of cold, salty wind, the house is ‘a box within a box’; to address the clients’ request for two bedrooms and ensuites, separated from the living area, the house is ‘a box beside a box’.
- The house is highly visible due to its external orange metal panels, matched to the lichen ubiquitous to local beaches. The panels slide open to reveal a two-stage, private core. First, they enclose a verandah, which excludes summer sun, wind and salt moisture.
His clients said they wanted something on 19 hectares of land they had purchased at Premaydena. The result is a box within a box. The outer box is formed by sliding metal screens which wrap around a four-sided verandah, a transitional space to the interior which in turn consists of two modular six by six-metre volumes (living/dining/ kitchen and bedrooms) separated by a six by twometre wet area including ensuites and laundry.
Facing north, the house is set on a kind of podium or ridge halfway up a steep hill. Above the house, the hill is densely forested by eucalypts which shield the house from the chilly southerly winds driving up from the Great Southern Ocean. However, the wind can also come from the north-east. This can be gusty and carries salt, moisture and cold from Norfolk Bay. Hence, the screens provide protection from the weather while also providing security when the Sydney-based clients are away, together with a reasonably high degree of protection from bushfires.
With its elevated position and brilliant orange- and red-finished panels made from BlueScope galvanised steel sheet (a reference to the ubiquitous licheninfused rocks of Norfolk Bay), the house is highly visible from the road – an unapologetic punctuation mark in the rolling green landscape surrounding it.
While the screens offer protection from cold winds, they also keep out the heat of the afternoon sun. When closed, they protect the “cell” of the house from the outside weather conditions. But when open, they allow the house to engage fully with the magnificent surrounding landscape.
The shoji screens set up the Japanese aesthetic. This is continued by the deck which wraps around all four sides of the building. The deck with its three steps recalls the Japanese engawa, a transitional space to the interior, but also a place where people gather together, perching on the steps and looking out to the view. “Because it is all around,” says Vasiljevich, “there is no definition – it is just a case of where you are and what you are doing – for example, sitting on the north side with a good book or chatting to friends over drinks on the west side before sitting down to dinner.”
Misho + Associates:
The Premaydena house sits on a low podium on a largely wooded site on the Tasman Peninsula, south east of Hobart. The site faces north, on an inward curve of the peninsula, to Norfolk Bay. The clients came to the architect as the latter had already designed a house for them in Sydney. That house, framed by recycled timber screens, had in turn been inspired by a balsa model, by the architect, displayed at a Greenbuild Expo in Sydney several years earlier. This model expressed ideas the architect had been considering for his own house – lightness and light, simple module proportions, screening and layering. When the clients bought the 19-hectare site at Premaydena, the architect was asked to design a house based on the same principles.
The building is backed by dense stands of eucalypts on a hill, so is protected from the southerly winds coming off the Great Southern Ocean. However, an often-gusty northeasterly picks up speed, salt moisture and coolness as it crosses Norfolk Bay. To address the issue of cold, salty wind, the house is ‘a box within a box’; to address the clients’ request for two bedrooms and ensuites, separated from the living area, the house is ‘a box beside a box’. This again emulates the architect’s own home in the Huon Valley, where, he says, the box, as “an experimental laboratory … has allowed me to experiment with ideas in a controlled environment”.
The house is highly visible due to the external red and orange galvanized metal panels. The colours are matched to the fiery lichen ubiquitous to the local beaches. The darker red panels denote entry points, and slide open, much like the external screens of a Japanese teahouse, to reveal a two-stage, private core. First, they enclose a verandah, which completely enfolds the internal boxes, to exclude summer sun, wind and salt moisture. Insect screens slide, shoji-like, from the inside walls. Deeper in are two modules with a spine of ensuites and laundry. Even with the external panels closed, a set of wide clerestory windows to the south pulls in light to the living areas and main bedroom.
In a teahouse, chashitsu, the internal ceremonial space, is refined and disposed to intellectual fulfillment. So too, in this house, windows align perfectly with the parted panels, both beds can be exposed entirely (and privately) to vistas and breeze, and minimal internal ornamentation allows the residents to muse on the shifting clouds or geometric patterns of light cast on the verandah when the screens are closed on a bright but windy day.
The modular of course has many precedents; it is still such a successful planning system as it offers, at least, transparency of technology and minimal use of materials. In the Premaydena house, the modular – boxes within and beside each other – generates a series of elegant living spaces that provide respite from the external elements and, in homage to the chashitsu, opportunities to re-engage with daily rituals.
Project name: Premaydena House
Location: Premaydena, Tasmania, Australia
- Type By Characteristic: Green & Sustainable House, Holiday House, Prefab House
- Type By Site: Hill House, Countryside / Suburb House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Steel House
Project Area: 70 sqm, house and deck 120 sqm
Site Area: 19-hectare
Design Year: 2010 – October 2013
Construction Period: 2011-2013
Completion Year: 2014
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Misho + Associates – GPO Box 274, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
Project Team: Misho Vasiljevich, Joe Hitti
Interior Designer: Misho Vasiljevich
- Structural Engineers: Matthew Webster – Aldanmark
- Environmental Consultant: Dr. John Paul Cummings – Geo-Environmental Solutions
- Building Surveyor: David Morey – Pitt & Sherry
- Builder: Brett Perry
- Steel fabricator: Crisp Bros/ Hayward
- Solar/ plumbing: HyrolSol Pty Ltd
- Double glazed windows: Glass Supplies Tasmania
- Timber frames sliding doors: Tasman Windows and Joinery
- Electrical: Robbie Griggs Electrical
- Zinc Roof: HyrolSol Pty Ltd
- Stainless Steel gutter: Hill Sheet Metal Pty Ltd
Text Description: © Courtesy of Misho + Associates, bluescope
Images: © Misho + Associates, Peter Whyte