Zen House

The Zen house is an uncompromising exercise in cradle to cradle recycling to create a contemporary family home imbued with the spirit of the existing site. The 1970’s beach house previously on the site was dismantled carefully for reassembly within the context of the new building. The existing garden was retained and increased in size by reducing the new building’s footprint. This allowed for a productive garden to thrive on the northern façade, helping to control sun and wind and making the house feel more comfortable and connected to the ground. The goal was to establish a relationship between occupants, house and site.

No timber from the demolition works left the site: oregon rafters were reused as cabinetry, stair treads; all floor boards and decking boards were de-nailed and reused and the original hard wood stumps were reused as the front entry stairs. Windows from the house were reused internally to separate the study from the living room and externally to shelter the north facing deck from sea breezes. PVC plumbing pipes, light fittings and the wood fire was reused.

The radially sawn timber fins on the east façade angle variably, animating the façade like a wave above the viewer when approaching the building. This twisted façade serves to protect the southern end of the upper floor decks from cold south-easterly breezes while opening out to the sun and views at the northern end. These timber fins are visible both inside and out, which ties the building together reinforcing the feelings of shelter and connection to the natural world.

Designed by Ricardo Zen, this home is nestled in a quiet court in Jan Juc, on the Surf Coast of Victoria.

Photography by Emma Cross