From a certain angle, D’Entrecasteaux House looks like a stone-walled fortress – a design decision that seems strange considering the panoramic views of Bruny Island that the residence is privy to. But looks can be deceiving. From the inside, the Tasmanian fortress seems to be all light, air and views.
The rhombus-shaped footprint of the building opens up the interior to an unusual arrangement of outdoors spaces. Inserted behind the stacked stone walls around the periphery, the architects at Tasmanian practice Room 11 have designed a series of largely triangular courtyards, decks and viewing platforms.
For instance, a viewing deck cuts into the interior floorplan like a wedge of cheese. The design is cleverly arranged behind a high, protective wall that is angled to allow views in while keeping the bitter Tasmanian wind out.
Or, in the words of the project team at Room 11:
“The house employs an inflected non-orthogonal plan where massive stone walls encompass living spaces [that] are enriched by the resultant spatial complexity.”
Approaching the house from across the vast fields of its Bruny Island context, the predominant design feature that stands out from the grey mass of stone is a sharply angled and deeply tinted window that acts as a blackened mirror reflecting the landscape. This is symptomatic of Room 11’s treatment of the Tasmanian landscape; an approach that at once embraces and rejects the elements.
The windows within D’Entrecasteaux House are all tinted to a shade of near-black so that, while occupants are still able to access the moody Tasmanian views, they are shielded from the bright sunlight that is unmitigated by any surrounding structures tall enough to provide shading. Similarly, the material palette of D’Entrecasteaux House is of a universally dark shade; a design decision intended to “provide relief from the blisteringly bright Tasmanian light”.