Dragon Skin House
The site of the Dragon Skin House is small and dominated by the views of the ocean and the Tomaga River. Large houses to each side and up the slope behind the block all stake a claim to the view, creating pressure on the form and scale for the house. A public access pedestrian lane runs down the east side, and a wide grassy public zone stretches across the front of this house and its neighbours. There is a sense that this house is in the public domain- it is looked upon from all sides.
Decisions about construction were linked intrinsically with the need to be tough in a marine environment, but were also influenced by this feeling of being on show. The house contributes to the small town in an ornamental way. The clients requested this friendly approach to the exterior and were happy for the house to be ‘interesting-looking’. The controlled composition of a broad palette of materials; off-form concrete, hardwood, hit and miss glazed bricks and scale-like zinc cladding; creates a pretty and engaging house which entertains the locals. It feels appropriate that in this case, the house does not try to hide in its beautiful landscape, but rather it complements and contributes to it.
Photography by Katherine Lu