The glamour of Californian mid-century houses, such as those by John Lautner, have inspired the bold materiality of this Castle Cove home.
The site is precarious, with angaphora-lined ravines that flow steeply down to the harbour. The sandstone geology takes many forms, from mighty escarpments to minor ripples in the bedrock. The landscape tectonics informed the way the site was approached and navigated by Terroir, and ultimately inspired the design.
An irregularly shaped concrete shell steps around outcrops and contours, creating an evolving form that is distinctively new, but also could just as easily be a strange excavated object. The concrete elements form an unnatural escarpment for habitation.
The thermal mass properties of concrete were selected to work in partnership with hydronic under-floor heating, generous overhangs, cross ventilation and double glazing. The home is designed to create a thermally efficient internal environment, which relies on passive heating and cooling and requires minimal artificial power.
Almost the entire form of the Castle Cove house is built from in-situ concrete, in order to contend with the rough escarpment that forms the topography of the site. Ancillary rooms to the rear have been crafted from glass and copper.
The long irregular rectangle is hoisted up by large concrete blade walls which form a carport below.
The use of concrete has allowed a faceted form that folds back and forth like origami.
The monumental concrete shell is roofed in a continuous zinc membrane that folds over to form a smaller pocket to the rear containing private rooms.
Local stone has been used to create blade walls throughout the property, forming enclosed outdoor terraces amongst the terrain.
The monumental scale of the concrete structural work is countered by extensive use of timber linings that soften the heavy material, enabling the house to feel comfortable and homely.
The glamour of Californian mid-century houses was a major inspiration for the form and materiality of the home. Further complexity is provided by mirrors and skylights that have been carefully curated to add surprise and wonder throughout. The faceted skylights appear to be carved out of the timber from the inside.
The timber linings have been crafted from timber veneer, which is an excellent choice for using timber as an aesthetic only material. The heavy concrete and soft timber are complemented with brass detailing for added drama.
The use of timber veneer lining in this project garnered Terroir an ATDA award.