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This off-grid retreat is surrounded by the beautiful Australian landscape

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This timber off-grid retreat was designed by Ben Callery Architects, located on an exposed ridgeline at a place called High Camp, an hour north of Melbourne, Australia. Designed to facilitate a low-impact lifestyle, this compact 33′ x 33′ footprint offers one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room, and an open layout kitchen.

While this structure dismisses some excesses of modern life, it doesn’t sacrifice comfort. The dwelling produces and stores its own power, collects its own rainwater, and treats its own wastewater on-site. The design interacts with the elements to create natural comfort; inviting warming winter sun, blocking out hot summer sun, and catching prevailing cool breezes.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Ben Callery Architects BUILDER Keenan Built STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Keith Patrick LANDSCAPE DESIGN Kathleen Murphy

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The owners told the architects that ‘woora woora’ means ‘sky’ in the local dialect and the sky out here is expansive and beautiful. However, on such an exposed site, the sky takes on a paradoxical relationship; providing all that we need to be self-sufficient yet also imposing the harsh elements that make this place inhospitable.

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On the interior, protected by the elements, the spotted gum-lined ceiling and cabinetry will stay forever young. The internal palette is minimal, practical, and unadorned, reflecting our client’s brief. Concrete is structure, thermal mass, benchtops, and hearth. Oriented strand board (OSB), a structural bracing, is appropriated as internal wall lining and cabinetry and painted black.

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These dark, moody finishes emphasize the sense of shelter. The reflective luster of the burnished concrete, the sheen of the timber, and the mirrored splash backs also increase the soft ambient light and amplify the views beyond, celebrating the awesome nature of this site viewed from a position of comfortable refuge.

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What We Love: This off-grid retreat designed for a couple nearing retirement is the ultimate place to immerse oneself with nature. Created to withstand the harsh elements of its location, this self-sufficient timber structure blends into the surrounding environment. Despite not having very many modern conveniences, such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or television, there is still a touch of luxury in the bathroom with the spa-like soaking tub that offers the most heavenly views!

Tell Us: Would you live in a completely off-grid home? Let us know why or why not in the Comments below, we love reading your feedback!

Note: Check out a couple of other amazing off-grid retreats that we have showcased here on One Kindesign: This fabulous off-grid tiny home on wheels can be taken anywhere and Off-grid residence designed for book lovers on the Gulf Islands.

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The depth of the eaves provides summer shade and shelter from the rain. The chunkiness of the eaves is a structural response to the wind loads and visually gives the house a sense of solidity. The strong horizontality of this canopy visually accentuates the undulations of the surrounding landscape.

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Perched on a hillside, this off grid retreat overlooks the most magnificent panoramic views. It is exposed to the harshest of Australia’s elements; category N3 winds (low level cyclonic,) bushfire attack level of BAL-29, and the unforgiving hot summer sun. It was the raw natural beauty of the place that drew the homeowners to this site.

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The architects used a natural palette of materials complementing the location. The external timber, spotted gum, is sustainably harvested and is so durable that it is bushfire resistant. Unlike the corrugated iron vernacular, this will age gracefully, enabling the structure to settle into the landscape.

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Rather than shy away, this bold little house confronts the elements and embraces them, immersing the occupant in the broad landscape beyond. The geometric form is a pure expression of the essence of shelter that we crave in this land – like seeking shade under the branches of a broad tree canopy.

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PHOTOGRAPHER  Jack Lovel + Dave Kulesza

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