My family and I have just returned from holiday – as always, being in a place (further) in the countryside and away from technology (well, most of it…) reminded us of some of the things easily forgotten in our day-to-day life – not least ’being’ in our surroundings and enjoying a pace of life that we often strive for.
This zen-like holiday bliss was aided in no small amount by the humble little worker’s cottage we stayed in – designed for function, environment and built from local materials, it played a key part in our experience and connection with the local area.
The ability of a structure to enhance an environment whilst remaining seemingly integral to it is nothing new (our circa 1800 holiday cottage is certainly testament to that), but it’s always encouraging to see fresh approaches, and Balnarring Retreat in Australia is a great recent example. Constructed in Victoria to serve as a flexible space for differing needs such as retreats, studio and living space, the building demonstrates how the use of locally sourced materials, site consideration, and contemporary aesthetics can provide a solution that really helps people connect with their surroundings.
At the core of the project is the drive to help residents distance themselves from technological reliance utilising the site, building, and a manually operated approach to any mechanical functions such as doors and windows.
Whilst I’m certainly a fan of anything that aids switching off and experiencing the slightly more tangible side of life, couple that with beautiful minimalist architecture and pared back interior styling and well, I just want to logout, unplug, and head for the hills again. Lovely.