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Issue 59 - The Life Outside Issue

Issue 59

The Life Outside Issue

Introducing the Life Outside issue of Habitus magazine. With life increasingly being absorbed into a digital space, there is never a more important moment to hold something tangible. In this context, the power of nature to have a physiological impact on our sense of wellbeing has never been more important. So how can we cultivate the benefits of the our natural environment in the most intimate of places – our homes? This was the question that helped to bring this issue of Habitus to life.

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X marks the spot at dramatically situated Ravine House
HomesTimothy Alouani-Roby

X marks the spot at dramatically situated Ravine House

Australia

Perched over a coastal ravine by the Pacific Ocean, Rolf Ockert. Architect. has composed a symphony of form, material, light and views.


Ravine House by Rolf Ockert. Architect. is all about the location. Extending out almost over the Pacific Ocean, it’s little wonder that the designers took their cues from the site’s unique features – from its dramatic topography to its stunning water views.

Drone photography.

The ravine in fact continues right under the house, all the way to the street. Instead of fighting or constraining this feature, Rolf Ockert. Architect. has worked with it in crafting the layout. In plan, the house is organised as an X-shape as a response to the gorge that defines its base.

As it happens, this layout lent itself to the programmatic requirements for the clients, a family of four with two young children: four bedrooms upstairs, and living, dining, loggia and garage on the entry level.

All of this sits above ground-floor level and the cliff edge in fact allows for two more levels to step down its face below. These spaces become more private and intimate with the vertical descent, offering a sheltered outdoor sitting area, private study and even a ‘Ravine Room’ complete with window slots in the bottom of the pool.

The pool itself is of course a distinctive feature. Its placement seems to put it hanging out over the ocean in a space whose openness marks a clear contrast with the front of the house. There, the modest street-level entry is more restrained and has the effect of compressing space vertically before the visitor reaches the high-ceiling living and dining areas.

Related: Bronte Beach House by Tom Mark Henry

While stark and formally simple in some ways, the overall composition, with its split-level section and angular plan, is full of unexpected voids and openings. These have been thoughtfully designed to offer a varying range of views and natural light effects. The ocean is the ubiquitous feature of the house, only not always framed in the same ways.

The dramatic setting – exposed as it sometimes is to severe, salty and stormy weather – also necessitates some serious care in terms of materiality. The designers have deliberately opted for hard-wearing, robust and high-quality materials in order to stand the test of time here: marine-grade concrete, for example, as well as anodised aluminium and high-performance glass. Meanwhile, a large rainwater tank and solar PV system provide for water and energy needs.

As Rolf Ockert. Architect. quite rightly puts it, this house could not reasonably sit anywhere else. It’s a striking extension of – and response to – a most stunning setting.

Rolf Ockert. Architect.
ro-ar.com.au

Photography
Mark Syke (except drone photography)

Drone photography.

About the Author

Timothy Alouani-Roby

Tags

ArchitectureAustraliaconcretefurnitureHome ArchitectureHouse ArchitectureInterior DesigninteriorsOceanRavine House


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Issue 59 - The Life Outside Issue

Issue 59

The Life Outside Issue

Introducing the Life Outside issue of Habitus magazine. With life increasingly being absorbed into a digital space, there is never a more important moment to hold something tangible. In this context, the power of nature to have a physiological impact on our sense of wellbeing has never been more important. So how can we cultivate the benefits of the our natural environment in the most intimate of places – our homes? This was the question that helped to bring this issue of Habitus to life.

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