A Contemporary Reimagining of Robin Boyd’s Fenner House
Las Palmas is an equally casual and luxurious home inspired by Robin Boyd’s Fenner House where owner Sally McGarry grew up. A significant example of 20th century Australian architecture, the house’s post-war regional style had a lasting impact on Sally, whose family still reside within the 1950s Canberra home.
DUO Architects in association with Davis Architects were tasked with designing Sally’s new family home in a similar mid-century style. At the same time, the home needed to be integrated into the Byron Bay hinterland landscape, practical for a young family to live in, and able to operate part-time as a luxury accommodation venue.
Las Palmas’ architecture is genuinely inspired by the two-wing floor plan of the Fenner House. These two wings (one for sleeping and one for communal spaces) lie long and low in the landscape – their unbroken horizontal lines emphasising the undulating hinterland hills that surround them.
Expanding the overall space is a large terrace to the west, and a protected courtyard to the east. ‘The generous, almost civic entertaining zones draw focus to the infinity pool and the hinterland views,’ says Kirrili Zimmer, co-founder of DUO Architects.
Inside, concrete floors mirror the floating roof and thermally absorb the sun’s warmth. A central stone fireplace adds valuable texture, complemented by stark white walls (Dulux Natural White) and blackbutt joinery throughout.
While aesthetically inspired by the Fenner House, this is a site-specific project responding to its location and outlook. ‘Long after the building has now been created, the landscape still remains the focus point of the place,’ says Teneil Van Dyck, co-founder of DUO Architects. ‘The building is both a proud modernist statement but also humble in its totality, playing servant to the breathtaking scenery of the site.’
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