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Robson Rak Layer House

Recently I was commissioned by Schiffer Books (who is based in Pennsylvania, United States) to write a book specifically about Australian architecture. Even though this region has a relatively small population (considering the vast land mass) it really does boast some of the world’s finest residential homes. Over the years the scale of houses in Australia have reached epic proportions and even overtaken properties in the United States. However, my publisher was very keen to include a wide and diverse variety of dwellings of all shapes/sizes.

When writing a book certain factors are agreed from the outset like page word count, dimension, number of companies/homes featured. Therefore, making a definitive selection is very tough because of the amount of talent in Australia. My editor (who is also an author) shares the same passion that I do about architecture and has recommended a few choice selections of our own. A great example can be found in the wonderful Layer House by Melbourne based practice Robson Rak.

Robson Rak is owned by principals Chris Rak and Kathryn Robson. Both of these dynamic personalities have got extensive experience designing wonderful homes throughout Europe and Australia. The reason I was so interested in featuring Layer House on Total Design Reviews is because of the materials used in construction. The residence is mainly composed of rammed earth and timber, which gives it a beautiful organic appearance. Like all great contemporary homes, Layer House also uses an expanse of glass to saturate the property with light.

The original brief presented to Robson Rak by the clients was to create a house that could be used to entertain. For that reason, the internal layout is open plan and totally uncluttered. Generally, the décor is minimalistic and the palette has been restricted to subtle neutral tones. There are also effective hidden features like Hydronic heating (beneath the polished concrete flooring) which distribute warmth evenly throughout property. However, there are are still inspired architectural details like a sculpted spiral staircase and bespoke fitted kitchen.

Overall Layer House is a superb example of modern sustainable Australian living and the elegant design is sure to last the test of time.

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