‘Rocky ravine house’ becomes an extension of its location

This home in South Coogee has is no backyard, instead, a rocky ravine that brings the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean right into its core.

The house is an extension of its location and could not reasonably sit anywhere else. It grows out of the rock organically and responds to the gorge that defines its base.


The resulting X-shaped plan of the house suits its internal organization perfectly, with four bedrooms upstairs and Living, Dining, Loggia, and a Garage on the main level, both above the grounds. The natural fall in the rock allows two more levels below, getting more private and intimate with its rocky location, as one goes down.

The presence of the ocean is immediate, from everywhere in the house. The angular plan and split-level section, in combination with, sometimes unexpected, voids and openings, allow a myriad of different viewpoints and experiences of the ocean, the rocks, and the sky, enlivened by the various paths of natural light into the house over the course of the day and the year. The natural ravine does not stop at the existing sea wall but continues right under the house to the street. While this created the opportunity to retain the natural flow of stormwater it also, together with the extreme wind forces that needed to be allowed for in this location, presented unusual engineering challenges.

Still, the house presents light and airy. While appearing modest and close to the street the house opens up dramatically to the east. The split-level section follows the natural flow of the land, minimizing the need for excavation. The experience of the very high living and dining level is enhanced by entering it through the low-height, almost compressed, entry area. The more personal rumpus living space, together with the areas allowing the clients to follow their various private pursuits, such as Playroom, Gym, and climate-controlled Wine Cellar are one level below, accessible via very light, visually open, stairs. This level also offers a more sheltered outdoor sitting area, a necessity in this location, and the pool that extends east to almost over the ocean itself.

On the level below that is the private study and the Ravine Room, accompanying the rocky gorge, with the latter lit by window slots in the bottom of the pool. From the entry area stairs, tucked away to the side, leads up to the bedroom area, highest up over the ocean.

Images by Rolf Ockert via ArchDaily

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