House in the Mornington Peninsula, which is in Victoria, Australia.
Entering between tall earth walls, a long corridor curves beyond view as the timber ceiling drops into the distance. Upon reaching the lowest point of the corridor, large windows slice through the earth walls to reveal a dramatic view south across the vines to the ocean beyond, to the north a dark strip of water cuts through a courtyard reflecting the sky.
Further along the central spine, the ceiling arcs up and the view unfolds as two large living spaces intersect the corridor. A staircase ascends beyond, and appears to hover above the vines. A discreet opening accesses a further volume beyond. Containing main bedroom, ensuite and private terrace, the elevated space affords views over the hilltop to the valley beyond.
The structural engineer and rammed-earth contractor were involved early in the design process to ensure the seamless integration of services, openings and frameless glazing with the rammed earth. A landscape plan was developed that, when implemented will add further complexity to the act of concealing and revealing views through and across the landscape.
Timber pergolas and external blinds are used as screening devices, mediating sunlight as it moves across the house. Thickened walls allow deeply recessed windows, shaded from the summer sun and provide opportunity to recess window frames to achieve a thermal break.
Natural materials with a low embodied energy rating are used throughout the building. All spaces are cross ventilated and each building volume can be heated and cooled independently depending on how the house is occupied. The building utilises the insulation properties of rammed earth.
The property is not connected to mains water, all rain water is harvested and used throughout the house. Water collected in the dams is used for irrigation. All sewerage is treated on site.
Architects: Wood/Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
Structural Engineers: John Gardner
Project Area: 650 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Jean Luc Laloux, David Goss