Cape Schanck House / Jackson Clements Burrows

Architects: Jackson Clements Burrows Pty Ltd Architects
Location: Cape Schanck, Victoria,
Project Team: Tim Jackson, Jon Clements, Graham Burrows, Kim Stapleton, George Fortey, Brett Nixon
Design duration: 12 months
Construction duration: 18 months
Landscape: Site Office Landscape Architects
Mechanical: Griepink & Ward Pty Ltd
Structural: Adams Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd
Contractor: BD Projects
Constructed Area: 400 sqm
Photographs: John Gollings


The undulating landscape at Cape Schanck is primarily a combination of cleared grass dunes (locally known as the Cups region) and expansive areas of dense Coastal Heath and Ti-tree shrub. The site is a designated wildfire zone and prior to the landscape being significantly cleared by early European farmers the area was inhabited by local aborigines.

On our first site visit we discovered the remnants of a hollowed out burnt log. This informed a starting point for an architectural exploration for the interiors and exterior where the form of the hollowed log suggested possibilities for an architectural solution.

The site is located on a high inland dune amongst dense coastal ti-tree shrub with expansive western views. On approach, the visitor is fronted by an expansive wall which conceals the primary upper level form. The lower level extends from the steep ground plane as a rendered plinth and forms a base much like the surrounding dunes. A winding driveway climbs the steep dune accessing the upper level behind a screen fence which conceals the view beyond. From here the entry experience opens to expansive views over the living area, deck and pool.

Programmatically the house considers the needs of a retired couple and their extended family who regularly visit with grandchildren. The primary upper level form (conceived as a hollowed out log) contains the kitchen, dining, living, garage and laundry. A secondary upper level form (conceived as a branch extending from the log) contains the study, master bedroom and ensuite. These forms are both finished in spotted gum hardwood cladding which is stained black. Cedar windows and cladding left in a natural finish are sleeved into the black exterior accentuating the difference between the interior and exterior as if part of a natural weathering process. The lower level contains guest accommodation and conceals functional plant spaces for mechanical systems and pool equipment.

The house is orientated to the northwest embracing expansive views. To control passive heating in summer, the western windows are protected by extensive eaves and motorised external Vental louvre blinds automatically descend once the sun passes through the north axis. Extensive northern glass is also protected by sunshades which limit solar penetration in summer. Further sustainable design considerations include fully automated electrical systems to reduce unnecessary power drain, bore water for garden and pool use and rainwater collection to tanks for all domestic use – town water was available however the clients agreed that the connection was unnecessary.

This house engages with the landscape through manipulation of form, material and colour. The weathered black vertical cladding profile references the undercroft structure of the Ti-tree and upper level form extends from the hill at ground level rising to a ridge which then descends to the west. At distance, the cranked profile of the form responds to the undulating profile of the surrounding ti-tree scrub and immerses the building within its surrounds.

Cite: "Cape Schanck House / Jackson Clements Burrows" 24 Jul 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 02 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=4251>

22 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    found your house by brousing on the webb. I hope to build something as nice at some point in the future here in texas , lovley place stunning

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Lol sizaman play fair dude, I dunno about the house im kinda over this |great picture| architecture from exciting angles, more compelling object based stuff, but it isnt that bad, i suppose she certainly does photograph well with her protrusions at random ? angles ? Her beautiful timber cladding and her very linear awesome bedroom. So good job Jackson Clements Burrows Pty Ltd Architects. And besides wtf do i know im a student :)

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      did you find this by googling your own name cowboy?

      this house is all popped collars – 3/10

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This represents some of the very best of a new wave of work from Australia of late. For me this house represents a continuation of the Australian appropriation of the modernist tradition from Marcel Breuer to Harry Seidler to Jackson Clements Burrows.

    I consider the cantilever to be the most phallic of gestures in architecture (as opposed to height). But damn they are spectacular and beautiful when they look like this.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Excellent, indeed.
    @critical cow: and the problem with a phallic gesture is what? A phallus is a beautiful thing, a natural form, no?

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s hard to swallow all the ‘sustainability features’ of a monstrous one family house on a giant swathe of land with parking for 4 cars and air-conditioning throughout.
    No matter how much bore water you have access to and no matter how clever your automated blinds are, if every family on earth had one of these we’d have gone extinct 100 years ago.
    Probably best to say;
    ‘We tried to minimise the impact of this project on the environment, but hey, we have bills to pay and if we said ‘no’ the clients would have just gone to someone else.’

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    hey guys, just wondering if you know the exact address of this stunning piece of architecture? im doing an architecture course and we need to find a contemporary building and draw its site plan. i want to find it using google maps, but i don’t know the address. anyone who knows? thanks bunch. :D

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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