Now that we have all had a break over Christmas, it is time to get back into it. Time to reassure Jade and Aaron this is a project they want to be involved in.

With a team in place, we need to sell the whole notion of what we are trying to achieve. We need them to buy into our dream. I wonder if Pinot and Beer will help seal the deal…

Getting the team around the table to thrash out some ideas, I set down some instructions; we want them to challenge us, the way we think and our ideas, we want them to pull together as a team based on the ethos of what we are doing. We want this to be a success and we want them to be involved. And it was at that moment, as Aaron and Jade became animated with ideas and opinions, I realised my fears were for nothing, their skills and enthusiasm were going to be a real asset to the project.

The decisions begin to come thick and fast, we had already determined that the building would be pre-fabricated and by adapting commercial techniques, we could allow for speed, progress and activity in the constrained conditions. As I had always had the notion the building would be timber, cross laminated timber panels would be used not only for aesthetics but also to assist in keeping costs down. The disadvantage of pre-fab is that is inherently low mass therefore doesn’t retain heat particularly well or allow the internal environment to be moderated on a hot day. Although we have tried, we still have some issues surrounding this and are yet to uncover the perfect solution.

Whilst discussing mass and heat retention, I remember as a kid, getting out of the swimming pool and lying on the concrete to warm up. How can I use the heat retention properties of concrete in an effective way? Our thoughts turn to an outdoor room concept, why not create a useable space, sun drenched, views a plenty and comfortable in a variety of temperatures? By harnessing the thermal properties of concrete, our outdoor room will essentially heat itself. With timber structures, the large, heavy concrete mass of the outdoor room will create interest and contrast. Our design begins to grow around the outdoor room element, we want the architecture of the buildings to develop out of the central space but, crucially, not dominate it. The central space will connect all other buildings, it will be a common point of activity and function like a public square but on a micro level.

As the architecture forms, we develop the concept of two living quarters. One that is completely self-sufficient with a main bedroom and amenities for two people without the need to open other spaces. The second pavilion would have some autonomy over the way they lived, not fully serviced but contain a bathroom, bedroom and living space. These two pavilions would be ideal for our family of four, but where do we put others? Bunks? Pull out couches? Day Beds? These are all viable options, that we will no doubt integrate into these spaces, giving us the ability to adapt to house more guests quickly and easily. But we don’t want our family bach to turn into a hostel or a hotel, we need overflow spaces! As we pondered that particular conundrum, we examined one specific aspect of our design thus far, the lack of storage. We want to be able to go on holiday and live out of our bag, not cart everything back and forth each time we stay. So we need a place to store items that would stay at the bach, not necessarily domestic storage (most of the stuff we store at home are keepsakes or things relating to our normal way of living) but a place to put everything we need to enjoy our holiday, golf clubs, bikes etc. Now we have two issues, no storage and not enough space for all our possible guests… I think we will have to incorporate a third building. And I think I want this building to be special, to be unique, to be a stark contrast to everything else on the site… I think I want a folly!

Published on Thursday, January 19th, 2017