The Ridge Contour House stands at the crest of a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean towards Coogee Bay and Wedding Cake Island. The site for the house is a typical Sydney suburban allotment-minimal street frontage prescribing a narrow rectangular block.
The house has been designed with durable materials to deliver advanced environmental performance. A range of native Australian timbers are used in the house. Walls are Spotted Gum solid timber vertical cladding. Roofing is zinc. Windows and doors are Western Red Cedar. Ironbark is used at balconies for decking, wall lining and soffits. Throughout the interior Sydney Blue Gum flooring is paired with timber veneer joinery and solid timber furniture. The durability, function and beauty of natural timber provides a rich support for the rythms of daily life.
A dilapidated cottage with a floor level five metres above the footpath was to be replaced by a new dwelling that provides internal access from street level carparking. A series of platforms are established, rising through the site, sequentially allocated to children’s accomodation, family collective spaces including garden and a more separate parent’s apartment.
In a series of transformations, the footprint of the maximum house envisaged by planning controls has been manipulated to follow existing contours on the southern side and to open to the sun on the northern side. The resulting inflections in the envelope provide a more generous proportion of open space around the house, affording its occupants and neighbours greater access to controlled light, air and views. A similar operation was undertaken in the vertical dimension to ensure a profile that is sensitive to both the topography and the prevailing building alignments on the street.