Project in progress: Southern Highlands

Bijl Architecture is currently documenting the design for a house in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Named Owls Wood, the property was previously owned by painter John Olsen who over several decades built and extended the existing dwelling in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Designed by Melonie Bayl-Smith and Andrew Lee, Bijl Architecture's proposal rationalises the disparate spaces and volumes to cast a new sensibility to the layout of this sprawling dwelling. This reworking of the house eliminates or rethinks low-use spaces, offers privacy and quiet spaces, and addresses natural lighting while creating better connections between internal and external zones.

The entry to the dwelling has been refined to allow better separation and accommodation for pedestrian and vehicle movements, while view lines from the property have been identified, creating visual connections with horses in the surrounding paddocks and maximising engagement with the site. An existing "chapel" on the property, previously used as a gallery by Olsen, will be converted into an office and library retreat.