“The Longhouse is unique. It’s the special place you find and are giddy with what it has to offer…”
Nestled in its own private chardonnay vineyard, the Longhouse undoubtedly features a special ambience that draws in and enthrals its guests. It is a mix of old and new, of vision and nostalgia that unite to accommodate guests of the Hunter Valley’s ever-popular wine region.
But before it opened its doors to provide boutique accommodation, the Longhouse had forged its own unique identity as a place of collaboration that united the country’s up and coming architects.
This is the story of the Longhouse, Pokolbin…
Starting a career in architecture is one of those challenging domains – you need a job to get experience, but to get experience you have to first get a job.
Understanding this quandary, Newcastle University architecture students Joanne Baker and Dean Williams came up with a compelling idea of taking matters into their own hands. They would start their own collaborative studio with the first project tapping the talents of architecture students from around the nation to gain the vital experience of building a house.
And it wouldn’t just be any old house, it would be a holiday house featuring three accommodation units in the heart of the Hunter Wine Country – Pokolbin.
From is beginning in 2009, the Longhouse would take more than two years to complete and involve the services, assistance and backing of many.
To purchase the vineyard the group sourced funding from their families. More than 40 Hunter based and national businesses provided over $300,000 worth of support. Expert architects oversaw the design, and students from around the world volunteered their time, working alongside experienced builders and engineers.
And the result? A resounding success given the stamp of approval by esteemed Australian architects like Peter Stutchbury.
Initially entitled “three houses at Pokolbin” the project became the 48m “Longhouse”, comprising three separate accommodation units with two spacious bedrooms in each.
The building takes its design inspiration from Australian rural architecture, and materials used within the project include timber cladding from a 130-year-old West Australian woolshed, and corrugated iron.
It sits in design harmony with modern materials like concrete, and plywood, while also including environmentally responsible design principles like solar collection and water harvesting.
Inside, attention turns to a contemporary and comfortable “raw luxury” feel that captures the beauty of the surrounding vineyard and mountain views. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a full-length balcony are a feature while each unit boasts stylish decor, a fireplace, vast sliding doors and opening walls to draw the outside in.
The Longhouse officially opened its doors to guests in late 2011. It is rated in the top 3% of 800,000 accommodation properties worldwide.