At times it seems we live our days fulfilling slap-dash digital imperatives, heeding little else than the ceaseless ringing and beeping of our phones and computers. It comes at very little surprise that we become, then, oversaturated with sensationalised marketing, an absurd notion of sociability, and a crushing desire for reprieve and adjournment. As much an aesthetic longing as it is a socio-cultural one, capital-E Escape has never appeared quite so captivating. And yet, its pursuit need not be as elusive as we like to make out.
Bearing its windswept solitude with modest tenacity, Patrick Miller’s Mullalyup Weekender is socketed in a gentle rolling valley in WA’s South West. An exercise in restrained drama, the structure adheres to a formal language that is unassuming yet always, already, silently splendid. Situated on the brow of a sloped lot, this simple two-bedroom weekender with ancillary buildings and a timber stilt frame champions its pan-directional vistas of the surrounding valleys. As with any brief designed to take advantage of majestic views, FINESPUN Architecture’s Patrick Miller says one of the project’s challenges was the “need to balance between opening up the façade to enjoy the views [while] keeping the need to avoid overexposure to the elements of wind, rain and sun”. The response is inspired: erecting an internal wind-protected courtyard between the garage and house, rammed earth blade walls provide communal outdoor dining and gathering spaces.
According to Miller, “[t]he simplicity of the form and structure is the greatest strength of this project along with the material palette”. Throughout interiors and exteriors, both the tonality and materiality of the project are brought together in a seamless narrative of rammed earth, naturally weathered cedar cladding, steel and glass – all echoing back the unique landscape and vegetation of the surrounding countryside. Sustainable practice, high-energy efficiency and low maintenance construction was key.
Speaking so much to the need for gentleness and ease in our lives, the Mullalyup Weekender is brief, compact, and considerate. Using natural light and opening itself demurely out onto breathtaking sweeping views, the most minute and sympathetic attention to detail is seen throughout – down to the play of light created by expansive windows that dances gently throughout the structure during the day.
Photography by Dion Robeson.
Words by David Congram.