This 4-bedroom home responds to and reflects the elements and objects randomly located in its
rural context of Warragul, Victoria. It’s curved form and aspect offer functional space, unparalleled views and access to light.
The unique form is a response to one clear directive from the clients ‘we want to wrap ourselves around the dam’. Architects Corner utilised this brief in more ways than one, including an alternative to an internal staircase in the form of a 21-metre-long curved concrete ramp, echoing the contours of the building itself.
Architect’s Statement: The idea behind the Ramp House was to reflect the elements and objects randomly located in its rural context of Warragul, Victoria.
“We want to wrap ourselves around the dam!” was the quirky request from the clients, inspired this unique design and helped position the home on the 45-acre canvas offered by the property. Combining their desire with the optimum orientation has created a home that fills with morning light and spectacular evening view.
There’s a little bit of form as a predecessor to function here, and I don’t feel guilty about it. The subtle curve of the house in plan was an abstract thought in the concept stage, I chose to ‘wrap’ the clients around the dam, literally. The design process that followed the concept converted the literal, to lateral thinking and problem solving.
What sustainability features does the project have?
It turns out quite a few….
The clients have experienced their first winter and are delighted with how much warmth they gain from the sun in the morning. They mentioned that on sunny days, in winter they dont require artiffical heating at all.. the warmth gained through the north facing windows supplements the requirements for heat.
Also their is an abundance of natural light that fills the house from Am to Pm. We strategically located a cantilevered balcony and roof over toward the North West side of the house which provides ample shade, in addition this is also the best spot to sit with a glass of wine and enjoy the surrounds.
What were the challenging aspects of this project?
There’s not many aspects that wern’t challenging.
Designing joinery and internal layouts to a curve is complex… unless you completely custom design everything inside you have to be smart about working with right angles in a curved house.
For me, it wasnt about the challeneges as their were ample, it was the dedication by Brett Hotchkin who built the house, to resolve them. Every site has its share of challenges, he dispalyed innovative thinking when we were confronted with challeneges.
How does the project interact with the landscape?
I spent the day there with photographer Nic Granleese photographing and observing the house at ‘play’ from 6am to 5pm. What was apparent for me was that the subtlety of the curve allowed for a seamless interaction between occupant and landscape, occupant and sun, and occupant and views.
When standing in front of the North facing façade and looking at the house, the curve straightens and the house seems “flat” and abstract in form within its context. When you stand inside, the curve takes shape and everything around it becomes obvious and purposeful. Kind of like a circular concrete water holder. It’s peculiar to look at it as an abstract object located in a paddock of grass and cows, although if I think about it some more, the idea of it does make sense in a man-made way.
Why no stairs?
The Ramp replaces the need for a staircase. It reciprocates the natural surrounding slope. It’s quirky and fun in concept, beautiful in form, and practical in function. There is a sense of grandeur about the ramp, and the plethora of left over space above it.
Location: Warragul, Victoria, Australia
Type: Residential – Houses
Area: 450 m2
Architects: AC Architects Corner
Photographs: Nic Granleese