Ballarat East House by Porter Architects
Project NameBallarat East House, Regional Residential Project by Nathan Porter Architects
Photographer DetailsDerek Swalwell
The astute design of this family residence engages intimately with the natively vegetated site, situated on a half acre plot overlooking the regional city of Ballarat.
Tight planning laws restricted the building envelope to a small section in the middle of the site, which Nathan Porter of Porter Architects took in his stride for achieving a beautiful and harmonious design.
The generously sized site features a large array of native Eucalypt vegetation and steep, staggered topography flowing through it. Originally hoping to experiment with the contours and boundaries of the property, planning laws nevertheless stipulated a more centrally located envelope, with flatter ground. Being both client and architect, Porter made the decision to raise the house up on posts, allowing a protected, useable understorey beneath the main structure.
Dividing the program into four sections, the design features two parallel sections- a private and a public, wrapping a large timber deck, with an entry pavilion at the tip. The clean and simple layout allows outdoor connections to thrive, and opens up the communal spaces to nature.
Views of the surrounding bushland are carefully curated through picture windows and full height windows, framed to allow the trees to extend indefinitely beyond the glass.
Entry to the home is through a transitional space at the top of the deck, inviting views through the timber pergolas, which subtly blend with the eucalypts behind them.
The exterior cladding is mostly board-and-batten silvertop ash. The radially sawn timber has a rough finish, subtly hinting at the ecological focus of the design. The timber boards have been set back below the decks, creating an illusion of separation between the floor and walls. The vertically set boards emulate the growth of the surrounding eucalypts, and produce a play of light throughout the day.
Dark stained shiplap ash clads the private pavilion, creating a distinction between usages. The distinction continues internally, with dark timber joinery defining the private spaces, while the public spaces feature lighter timber.
Decking used blackbutt timber, a sustainable Australian hardwood that is perfect for outdoor use. The timber has naturally greyed, allowing it to sink lightly into the surrounding palette of nature.
Furthering the desire for sustainability, Porter opted for recycled oak flooring for the project. The salvaged timber was painstakingly sanded back and refinished. The resulting look is sleek and warm, with a hint of the timbers patina remaining.
Porter designed and built the custom timber dining table, which in collaboration with the travertine stone bench top, creates a raw and organic material combination.
Timber joinery is used throughout the kitchen and bathrooms, with a variety of tones and species used.