House By The Forest



Middle Cove, Sydney


John Bullen

House On The Hill (HOTH) is located on a steep site in the Greater Sydney suburb of Middle Cove. The main dwelling sits further down the hill and the new building serves as a secondary dwelling that serves as a retreat and secondary dwelling for the client.

The strict site planning guidelines set for height limit meant that the design had to respond to the slope of the topography. The design is thus conceptualised as abstract volumes that are sympathetic to the site. The client is a keen art connoisseur and also keen in exploring Corten steel as a cladding material. The concept of the design is therefore formulated around the idea that the built form could extend beyond its practical use of living and conceived as Corten sculptures sitting in the natural landscape.

The public spaces are separated from the private, each articulated as a Corten box, and connected by a glass encased stairway that is reminiscent of a drawbridge. The higher Corten box contains the living with the roof lifted up to capture the northern sun. The lower volume is tilted in plan to address the main dwelling with its alignment. The windows to the lower box are purposefully misaligned with the box in elevation. These boxes are propped up by stilts at arbitrary angles and rhythm. The organic expression of the stilts delicately support the two Corten boxes. They mimic the slim trunks of the surrounding trees and are made to look like they grew out from the ground. When viewed from the main dwelling, the dynamic juxtaposition of the boxes and its articulation together with the organic geometry of the stilts further enhance the sculptural quality of these two volumes.

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