Shaun talks to Lachlan Shepherd about the design of the stunning Torquay home
Shaun: So, I’m sitting here with Lachlan Shepherd, renowned local Torquay architect from Lachlan Shepherd Architects … thanks for taking the time out to talk us through 31 Price Street. I know you’ve got an extremely busy schedule particularly taking some time out from filming Grand Designs Australia as well, which is really cool, but tell us a little bit more about 31 Price Street. You mentioned before about analysing the site, meeting the needs of what the owners wanted, and taking the concept from their mind and making it a reality.
Lachlan: Yeah. So essentially for us it’s a really unique and exciting site. There’s a lot of northern access potential that we had which was really good. The issue with a site like this one is that you need to be conscious of the neighboring properties. We worked really hard to fully maximize the usability of the site, which meant a northern courtyard orientation was ideal, so that they are going to get the most from that north aspect, but that we’re also kind of excluding everyone else.
There’s a deliberate and significant ploy in making sure that we do really enclose everything externally, but internally keep it really open. This means there is a lot of flow and spatially everything works, the spaces all relate to each other. There’s a lot of cross viewing with all the glass. The house is not overly large, it’s appropriately sized for the block, but it feels a lot larger than it is because there’s so much glass and so much view potential and usability. Shifting spaces around can be easily achieved through sliding doors and various applications of hallway spaces. In our approach to the entry, we specifically wanted that to feel a part of that courtyard, but also keep it visually separate from the rest of the house… So the salesman knocking at the door can’t see everything in the house, but they can get a glimpse down across the pool. It creates a bit of intrigue before you actually get into the house.
Shaun: You said before it’s an age old principle, that central courtyard, but you’ve obviously taken that to the next level from a modern standpoint. Almost every room has got visual access to the pool, there’s the shimmering on the ceiling for example.
Lachlan: Yeah, the reflection. The little bonuses of a pool.
Shaun: Yeah, exactly. So, as much as the pool has got its advantages as a central aspect, it also has calming element to it as well. It seems a nicely balanced approach to the design.
Lachlan: With regard to modernist principles, Lachlan Shepherd Architects is essentially a ‘first principles’ firm in terms of ’50s modernism architecture. For us is it’s timeless. The simple things with regard to house orientation and centralizing courtyards they don’t date. They’re proven and timeless… face the building the right direction, access sea breezes etc. All those principles apply to this building and it just creates a building that’s going to live well for a long time. Coupled with that, in this scenario we’ve got materials that are specifically designed for the coastal environment that we live in in Torquay. Growing up down here we know how badly buildings can age and weather really quickly.
The house was designed to be basically maintenance free, and in 30 years time you’re going to have a house that looks really good. It ages beautifully. It’s not going to be fad materials that go in and out of fashion. It will all weather off nicely and the owners won’t have to do anything … I think there’s only one bit of timber up on the second story that you can access from the rooftop and to paint pretty easily, but that’s the only part that will need any maintenance.
Shaun: You mentioned something before about the appearance the master, and that interaction with the house?
Lachlan: We always ask the clients questions about kids and the longevity of their mixed spaces and sharing. Essentially in this homes context, still quite young, but what we did was sort of distort, or stretch the floorplan arrangement in terms of the parents retreat going towards the front of the block, and the kids area upstairs and at the top. The kids have got their own area and all that space up there that can be quite detached. Parents can go to bed, or stay up and the kids are still in their separate area. It gives you a bit of flexibility no matter who the user is over time, and how the family changes and grows. It means that there is a sense of detachment when you want that, but they can also be there. Everything is still quite open, and you can open everything up and you can shout to each other down the hallway, and all that kind of stuff as you should be able to do, it gives you a bit of flexibility.
Shaun: So it sounds like it’s got flexibility for everyone Lachlan?
Lachlan: Yeah it does.
Shaun: Everyone’s covered. All needs are covered.
Lachlan: Yeah, I think so.
Lachlan: Look, truthfully architectural design is generally operating in a high design area, in a high level of finish, and high level of expense, but often with good houses they still have to be adaptable for the user themselves or different users. We try and apply design principles that makes the house livable for a very long time, and I think that that’s what we’ve done with 31 Price Street.
Shaun: Awesome, thank you mate. I appreciate your time.