Mountainside House

This house is situated on a beautiful mountain side. It has an elevated northerly prospect towards a dramatic sandstone and basanite escarpment, north-westerly views into a steep valley and easterly views across rural plains to the coast.This project subtly orients itself to these landscape elements with a series of long, cross and oblique axes that can be opened and closed within the building.

Our client knew the site intimately – having spent many days toiling on the steep slope to regenerate native vegetation, cultivate new gardens from native plants and construct a series of beautiful walls from stone on the site. His detailed knowledge of the site’s exposure, winds and climate strongly influenced the evolution of the project.

On the northern side, protected by a deep concrete porch are oriented all of the living spaces. On the southern side, but slipped slightly to capture particular landscape views and early and late sunlight – a series of bedrooms and a sleep-out. The sloping site is modified by a series of retaining walls and terraces that form a place for the more pure geometric form of the building to rest + provide level, sheltered outdoor spaces that offer respite from the strong north-westerly winds.

The house is located in a bushfire prone area – so a palette of concrete, render and fire retardant hardwood is deployed. Shutters and screens provide bushfire protection, but are more generously conceived as devices to adjust the house’s microclimate, as well as to open and close the house to the landscape.

The house is self sufficient in terms of water and waste + utilises multiple energy sources to procure power efficiently in its rural location. Recycled hardwood and brickwork are used, not only to minimise the embodied energy of materials – but to leaven the concrete shell with integrally muted, richly textured and weathered natural finishes.