Every concrete feature in the home, from the fireplace and kitchen benchtops to walls, polished floors and ceilings, is off-form – and for one simple (and practical) reason. The owner is a concretor.
Ben Stibbard says the home’s design deliberately played to the owner’s core skill-set and the Auhaus Architecture’s philosophy. “We design from fundamental principles - light, orientation, airflow. They’re our starting point for any project,” he says.
Tightly hemmed in by suburban houses but backing onto wetlands and a golf course, the Torquay House is treated as a walled sanctuary, opening up into itself. At street level, an open carport and art studio above invite filtered views through battened hardwood.
Entry is via a portal in the concrete wall, leading into a small, secluded courtyard which acts as an antechamber to the more private areas of the house. Inside, the space immediately opens into a double height gallery, glazed on one side to reveal the plan which wraps around a large central courtyard.
Exposed concrete walls feature inside and out, with the imprint of ply formwork testament to the off-form construction. An element of refinement has been added, with Z-bar holes highlighted via the use of brass tubing, cut flush to the surface and sealed with brass caps.
The ground floor is built on two slabs, one on top of the other. The first slab is a structural slab while the second carries the hydronic floor heating. A layer of rigid insulation is sandwiched between the two to prevent heat loss through the structural slab into the ground.