Bellbird Retreat small architecture exterior

Bellbird Retreat is a modest yet architecturally stunning house on a sizeable block in Killarney. Situated on the NSW-Queensland border, the 141-hectare bush site is at high risk of fire, which was a key influencing factor in its design.

Bellbird Retreat small architecture roof

One fire prevention feature for example is the home’s striking variegated v-roof. Modelled on a computer and fabricated as a concertina arrangement of Corten steel, the roof descends over the bedrooms and rises above the living room where views are framed with floor-to-ceiling glass.

Bellbird Retreat small architecture interior

A main feature of the home, the roof even infiltrates the interiors. It presents as zig-zag shadowing on the floor and as dramatic overhead metal chevrons in the ply-lined ceilings. Its profile allows leaves to easily blow off, contributing to its fire-safety.

The home has an unconventional layout, another element of its fire-safe design. Two bedrooms have also been strategically oriented to the north-west to capture morning sun.

Bellbird Retreat small architecture windows

According to the architect, the design is all about opposing elements; contraction and expansion, straight lines and curves and man-made versus natural.

While the house is only 67sqm, it manages to feel big with its vast outlook, sense of openness and the ability to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.