The Balonne River House is a five bedroom home situated on a long, narrow five acre block fronting the Balonne River, just off the main highway leading into St George. The clients have a long standing connection to Fulton Trotter, with their fathers’ house also designed by Fulton Trotter in the 1980’s. Out of a desire to create ‘something different’ in the local context, the Balonne River House was conceived.
The house is sited high on the rural block, ensuring the design captures the perfect northern orientation, cool summer breezes, fantastic panoramic river views, whilst also avoiding recent flood levels. The home focuses on notions of passive design, simplicity, and self-sustainability.
The building form is inspired by the desire to create separate master, living and bedroom wings, whilst ensuring focus on the above principals is maintained. This was achieved through the single room depth of each wing, large cantilevering roofs (constructed out of insulated composite roof panels), an outdoor living space and extensive use of glazing to the north. Furthermore, breezeways clad in polycarbonate sheeting create an interesting transitional link between each wing. The striking red insitu concrete walls to the east and west anchor the delicate and light-weight elements of the wings – the textured formwork mimics the laying of the surrounding red soil, whilst their solidity provides vital thermal massing qualities. Internally, the spaces are flexible and modern. Polished concrete floors and polished hardwood floors contrast against the crisp white walls – not to forget the curved 3 tonne polished concrete bench top, creating a focal heart linking all three wings and acting as a gathering space within the centre of the home.
Due to the homes rural locality, it was a requirement that the home be self-sufficient – harvesting all of its own water and processing of waste. This was achieved through the inclusion of four 20,000ltr rainwater tanks complete with filter system and its own on site waste water treatment system which reticulates into the property’s garden.