Text description provided by the architects. Set on a striking elevation just outside Hepburn Springs in Victoria, Australia – Oikos, named after the ancient Greek word for home is an indulgent short-stay retreat. Oikos evokes the red center of this great southern land – it’s dramatic, sculptural form both complementing and disappearing into the rugged precipice on which it stands. The retreat is subtle in scale yet rich in design, offering the best inbuilt architectural form and natural landscape setting.
Oikos is located on the crest of Breakneck Gorge, a sprawling 20-hectare property that takes in spectacular views of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford. From the outset, orientation and durability were initial drivers in Oikos’s design process. The site’s prominence also called for a design that would speak to the land – not distract from it. Corten steel cladding answered the issues of durability and disguise, ensuring longevity while not dominating the sensitive landscape. Installation difficulties for the complex design were dealt with by on-site fabrication.
The sculptural, rock-face like northern façade, unpunctuated by windows, faces the owner’s home. This clever positioning and design create privacy for both guests and owners, ensuring Oikos looks out instead to the stunning views below. Designed and built with an understated yet heartfelt generosity, Oikos is a unique offering to the local short-term accommodation market. It was an ambitious project from the outset, its scope increasing as the design progressed and the site’s potential was realized.
That care is evident in every detail both internally and externally with an emphasis on natural finishes used with creative results. Every element of this project is tailor-made and designed to enrich the user experience – from the selection of locally designed furnishings and the angled timber ceilings to the treetop views glimpsed from the floating steel bed. From a rigorous design process has emerged a maintenance free yet architecturally enhanced building – one to be shared with the general public. The client’s generosity and commitment to excellence have ensured the user experience is rich in design from the very first glimpse.