This sublime addition to an 1850's-era farm house incorporates lessons from building on the harsh Australian savanna to transform the site into a modern utopia. The new addition creates a counterpoint to the original modest stone house while reflecting core elements that are site-specific. The interior is bright and open, and the addition wraps around the original farm to create a protected courtyard. Dubbed Fold, the first residential project by March Studio is both graciously modern and humble in relation to its vast surroundings.
The original house, with its meter-thick walls, wrap-around veranda, and minimal windows stood up well to harsh summer conditions, acting like a fortress against the elements when settlers were shaping the vast landscape. The new building wraps around to protect the commons from the harsh south-west winds, creating a large central courtyard. Its north-facing windows absorb direct sun in the winter, and thanks to a massive overhang they provide indirect light through the summer. The interior features a mixed-use open floor plan focused around the kitchen — this makes the home feel much bigger that its footprint would suggest.
The roof rises out of the prairie like a small hill, becoming an abstract of the land — its materials and form reflect the original settler’s built environment. The tin ceiling, left in its unpainted state, not only acts as an ode to the history of the property but reflects daylight deep to the back of the living space. Other simple materials update cues from the past with a modern twist, like the block wall with embedded glass, or the wire mesh used to hold pot and pans. A concrete floor help regulate temperatures. The clever sunken interiors are clad in locally-procured lumber, which allows the form of the home to settle into the ground. The copper roof is set at an incline, protecting the property from the elements.