Project: The POD
Architects: Whiting Architects
Location: Lorne, Victoria, Australia
Photographs by: Sharyn Cairns
The POD by Whiting Architects
Designed by Whiting Architects, The Pod is a stunning modern dwelling located in Lorne, overlooking the ocean in the state of Victoria in Australia. Immediately, the stacked concrete and timber boxes make the exterior draw all the attention to itself. But this design is also responsible for some of the best views from the inside of the home.
Primarily designed from inside out for views & sun also conscience of creating very sculptural form; object in the landscape. Not to blend, but to sit in opposition, a manmade imposition. Removed all trace of archetypal house elements to produce a subtle blurring of the line between art and commerce.
Is this freight or a house? utilise shade & shadow on form & natural light as a key feature maximise natural light & visual access, yet privacy is an issue.
Minimise impact on landscape. Break building into small component parts like stacked boxes. Use natural topography to advantage. The ‘Pod’ building is an anchor point for the site with crates in timber & concrete randomly stacked as if ready for loading and dispatch by sea. Design came out of the need to overcome a difficult site; steep & split in 2 by an easement as well as to consider view sharing with adjoining owners & the need to gain elevation & frame views, like a perch or tree house.
A small standalone custom-made 3 level building for a couples weekend stays low-maintenance, eating out, a place to relax & sleep with deck & short walk to town via the beach
Working from inside-out was easy. Worked to make a place that worked beyond a ‘punch-line’ or ‘gimmick’, something with long-term gratification. A place that changes with the seasons & the time of day, a place to contemplate, unwind & enjoy. Platforms to enjoy magnificent views. Also had an obligation to create something remarkable when experienced from the outside-in, that reflected our client, his engineering and infrastructure background & what he does. A building with a little client self-expression.
Simply; it works they love it. Enables then to arrive and inhabit the space effortlessly, a place to navigate to & from
In an abstract secondary sense the built form reflects the client and his infrastructure building background. Location unlike typical housing site, steep, transversed by easements & tapering. More like a concrete hard-standing area at the bottom of a block left for industrial detritus, shipping containers, empty crates & sheets of sheet. Briefly glimpsed from The Great Ocean Road it becomes a landmark, a navigation or arrival point. A simple collection of objects to inspire a second look, something to seek out and discover. A counterpoint to the open views of the ocean opposite. Needed achieve maximum elevation to frame views.
Straightforward brief / long-term client & friend. Second Lorne house for them after successful completion of a number of residential & commercial projects. A lot of ‘shorthand’ and trust. Brief was collaboration, so was the build. Engineering by client, construction by their son (who we’ve had as a client & builder in his own right). Process punctuated by conversation & good diners. Never a cross word. Through trust, able to bring aspects that the client would not have imagined. They are delighted by the result & after so many projects together we can honestly say this one is spot-on.
We take a holistic approach to the entire design process. The exterior informs the interior. The building is used as a self contained guest house attached to a main house for a large extended family of 3 generations. The owners were after a more relaxed feel in the ‘Pod’ than the main house so they could slip in and out on weekends with ease. Neon stools punch out from a mostly neutral background and cooler tones reflect the concrete and timber inside/outside palate.
Client expert in delivering tunnels under the Yarra and sections of Eastlink; confident we can deliver a well-managed cost-efficient outcome. Played to the client’s strengths, concrete / steel, infilled with lightweight construction clad in compressed cement dressed with straps to give a more 3 dimensional look and detract from standard sheet cladding look. Specialist steel and precast concrete components formed offsite then craned in created an instant platform for the lightweight infill & getting us instantly out of the very muddy ground.
The key was to work with the elements, sun, breezes, shade & shadow & get the orientation right. Maintain maximum glass yet keep it sustainable by working with solar heat gain in winter to passively warm areas, offset by the ability to adjust by opening up the entire building to catch sea breezes & allow warm air to escape. Concrete has good thermal mass properties enabling us to build a combined wall & roof structure in the form of a box, prefabricate it & transport it to site as a completed element. The Building achieves a 6 star rating