Swan House by Collins Caddeye Architects is a by-product of synchronicity informed by the projects unique aspect, and the inspired vision of architect Andrew Collins who paid an initial visit to the property on a day when it’s retention dam had significantly flooded the area after heavy rainfall. The design of Swan House responded to these unusual influences and cleverly wove them into the client brief by integrating the landscape as a key element of the building. The unparalleled uniqueness of the site, and it’s extreme presentation on the day Andrew first viewed it was what, in the end, elicited a stunning and incomparable residential reposte.
The conception of Swan House was essentially the vision of its owners. The family of 4 initially engaged Collins Caddeye Architects (CCA) to design and build a secondary dwelling on the semi-rural site which was to become the primary residence for the owners and their 2 sons. A larger, existing building on the property was to be retained for guests. Ironically, with the project unexpectedly spanning across a 7-year timeline, it’s completion came after the boys had grown into adulthood and flown the nest. The house now remains a perfect place of respite to entertain family and friends.
Collins Caddeye Architects have designed a residential response to a rural site that integrates the landscape as a key element of the building.
Always a big part of what makes it home, the design of Swan House was formed around its owners, their lives, and their evolving expectations on the project. Professionally, the clients are the owners of a form working and concreting business and had requested the reuse of several waste materials they had from their yard. This included unlimited concrete, local stone boulders, significant amounts of heavy gage plate steel and a large cool room. All of these materials were incorporated into the build of Swan House with even the cool room reorganised to form long solid boxes that strongly define the four corners of the building.
Swan House has become a respite for its owners and place to entertain family and friends.
Internally, timber is evident throughout and used to subtly orient the inhabitant within the house and draw the eye to the exterior and the landscape beyond. Spanning over a body of water that has been re-routed by CCA from the original dam as a nod to its flooded state witnessed on the fated day of Andrews initial site visit, Swan House has emerged as an extraordinary example of architectural integrity achieved through a gentle hand and a confident yet patient approach.
Timber is used throughout the interior of Swan House and is used to subtly orient the inhabitant within the house and draw the eye to the exterior and the landscape beyond.
Tours of Swan House by Andrew Collins are part of this year’s DESIGN Canberra Festival. More info here.
Words by Tiffany Jade.
Feature image by Stefan Postles.