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Materials Age Gracefully In The Home Of Australian Architect Paul Couch

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Name
Project
Toolern Vale House
Photographer
Words

Melbourne-based photographer Tom Ross takes us inside ‘Toolern Vale House’; a family home in rural Victoria, and one of Australian architect Paul Couch’s most personal projects.

Situated at the center of a 50-acre block of bushland, the single storey building sits harmoniously amongst the eucalypts; the silver patina of its angular concrete form echoed by the color of their leaves. Designed by Couch as a home for his family, the quintessentially Australian house is illustrative of the pioneering architect’s feeling for concrete and construction. Built by hand over a period of twenty years, the graceful nature of aging seems present in every part of the space—a unique testament to Couch’s perennial aesthetic.

Composed of concrete, wood, and stone, the home strikes a textural balance so often missing from obsessively clean-lined contemporary buildings. From the interior, floor to ceiling windows open the space to its bushland surrounds; the bark of neighboring trees collect softly at the edge of the building, reflecting against the polished concrete floors of the interior. Ross’ photographs of this home are unique; particularly as the majority of Couch’s work has never been documented. Together with architects James Mugavin and Michael Roper, he is working on a book about Couch and his design endeavors.

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All images © Tom Ross