Living in a camera lens
The Tranmere Residence was designed as a three-bedroom family home on the eastern shore of the Derwent River, eight kilometres from the city of Hobart. A typical Hobart aspect can be seen from the site, overlooking a gently sloping foreground to the river, city and foothills. The brooding figure of Mount presents its distinctive profile to the sky.
The first move was to make a place in the landscape that reflected the key characteristics of the site condition. A cut was made in the site that suggested a massive shelf, or stage, from which views to the river and mountain could be enjoyed. The excavation and formalisation of the site geometry represented the ‘archaeological’ component of the project and formed an armature upon which the layering of program was grafted. Despite the closure of this solid form, its geometry alludes to the lineal pattern of river valley space and city development. The location of the block at the rear of the building, and its earth-coloured render, was a study in the spatial containment and mass of the mountain, rendered in macro scale.
The formal strength of the block form provided a backdrop for a series of thin, lightweight planes that articulate the major public spaces with views to the river and ‘western shore’ hills. These planes recalled the layering of the city landscape on the western side of the river and are embellished in thin galvanized stripes on the façade, suggesting the extension of the building beyond its suburban plot. From a distance, the building disappears completely with the exception of these stripes, left as a floating plane that amplifies the directional qualities of the river valley.
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