A holiday home set amongst rural South Australia, Mountford Williamson Architecture’s Waitpinga Retreat acts as the perfect getaway spot from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Divided into three areas, the house allows for flexible living arrangements, purpose-built for different generations of the family that own it to reside within it simultaneously. A breezeway acts as the focal point of the home and also as the separator of the main house and two guest rooms. The breezeway is also incredibly versatile, doubling as a verandah or a sunroom depending on the positioning of the glazed doors.
Hidden among the eucalyptus trees and surrounding bushland, Waitpinga Retreat also plays host to incredible views of Australia’s southern coastline. The positioning of the house allows for views of the coastline and hillside to the south, and the undisturbed bushland to the north.
Clad in zincalume and elevated to remove the need for any earthworks, the house coexists with the bush, as opposed to taking over it. Reflecting the tin sheds that have become synonymous with Australian outback culture, the house utilises honest materials such as galvanised steel, fibre cement and hardwood, that sit comfortably amongst the house’s backdrop.
The family that owns the house cite sustainable living as one of their key points, and instructed Mountford Williamson that it had to incorporate sustainable design characteristics in order to achieve their goals. The house is completely off the grid, using solar panels to power the site with batteries storing power, as well as rainwater tanks that store for the house’s water supply.
An innovative and thoughtful heating system – that utilises the fallen timber from surrounding eucalypts – heats the house efficiently through the winter months through the use of high lever vents, ducting and low-wattage fans. A fireplace that sits next to a concrete block wall also keeps the house warm, with the thermal mass of the wall remaining warm once the fire has gone out.
During summer, cross ventilation systems – that have become a cornerstone of sustainable design – cool the house and are aided by the breezeway. The house also treats waste-water on site, with an aerobic sand bed filter embedded outside the house to specifically recycle the water and reuse it for the garden.
Mountford Williamson have been cautious and careful in their design process in an attempt to ensure the forest remains untouched to stunning results. Harking back to the tin sheds that are seen on the drive on the way to the house, Waitpinga Retreat takes the nostalgia of the outback houses and its neighbours and reinvents it into a sustainable entity that is completely detached from the grids of suburbia.