Cave House

Apr 7, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by John Gollings
  • Architect McBride Charles Ryan

Achieving desirable sized outdoor spaces and good building orientation on a difficult triangular site was always going to be tricky. The idea was to treat the whole ground plane as a garden. This led to a re-exploration of the glass house typology -but with serious modifications. We had to contort the glazed box and split the central core, pulled up/down the building fascia to exclude/include views and sunlight. Like a mesh the ceiling followed by bending and arching, generating beautiful cave-like spaces on the ground floor.

Unlike the single person archetype this is a family home and a first-floor bedroom zone was required. The idea was then to invert the ground-floor; its conceptual opposite the courtyard house became the first floor. Not only was the dialogue between the two types of house experientially satisfying, it overcame the onerous planning restrictions of neighbourhood overlooking and allowed natural light into the central core of the ground floor via skylights in the courtyard. When viewed from the private open space the building perches over the ground plane like a granite monolith – from the street it acknowledges the large Toorak house imagery and typology but with just a menace of a Nolan painting.

*Team Members*
Rob McBride, Debbie-Lyn Ryan, Fang Cheah, Drew Williamson

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