Leaf House, Sydney Australia
Year: 2007 – 2009
Leaf House is designed for living inside, while living Out-in-Nature – and celebrates the wild Australian bush. The house engages a breathtaking site, with a building of equal character, intensity and irregularity.
Located in-the-round, the house constantly changes shape in response to its surroundings, creating unique impressions and dynamic spatial experience. It’s shaped by the environment, drawing on natural forms and forces to provide allegorical connections between building and landscape, and between in and outside.
The building consists of a series of interleaved roofs over a platform and landscape terrace; living spaces are located on the open plan terrace, while private spaces are built below the terrace into the hill. The design is diffuse, irregular and aims for minimal shelter.
Viewed from above, the house is defined by its roof – a fifth facade seen in relation to tree canopies and ocean currents. From alongside, the building is see-through and blends the interior with background greenery. From inside, it’s perforated and porous; filtering sunlight and providing keyhole views to trees. Undulating glass walls bend and stretch the interior, modulating and shaping light.
The structural system has an organic character that conveys a narrative in addition to carrying the building loads. This narrative begins with a tree – a central column that shoots from the earth and branches in all directions. The tree flattens and spreads, gradually coursing like lateral roots. The roots interweave and spin steadily into a diffuse, cloudy form. Finally the cloud condenses, falling to earth as rain. These metaphorical transformations unleash the structure from passive load transfer, elevating it to a sculptural element that reflects and responds to the natural environment around it.
Leaf House incorporates environmental design and the use of site-sourced materials, producing a building that is harmonious, responsive and engages the occupants.
Undercurrent Architects : Didier Ryan, German Perez Tavio, Claudia Youl
Jack Hodgson Engineers; Elliotwood Llp
Photography: Hugh Rutherford
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