Klein Bottle house / McBride Charles Ryan

Architect: McBride Charles Ryan - Rob McBride & Debbie-Lyn Ryan
Location: Mornington Peninsula,
Project Team: Drew Williamson, Fang Cheah
Clients / Builders: Donna & Mark
Constructed Area: 258 sqm
Photographs: John Gollings

The Klein bottle is a descriptive model of a surface developed by topological mathematicians. Klein bottle, mobius strips, boy surfaces, unique surfaces that while they may be distorted remain topologically the same. I.e. a donut will remain topologically a donut if you twist and distort it, it will only change topologically if it is cut.

The surfaces that mathematicians have developed hold intrigue for architects as they hold a promise of new spatial relationships and configurations. Technology (CAD) has played an important part in all this, it is now more possible to efficiently describe more complex shapes and spaces and communicate these to the build. Previously the more orthogonal means of communication – plans, sections and elevations naturally encourage buildings which are more easily described in these terms, i.e. boxes.

This holiday house is situated on the Mornington Peninsula 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. It is located within the tee-tree on the sand dunes, a short distance from the wild 16 beach. From theoutset MCR wanted a building that nestled within the tree line. That talked about journey and the playfulness of holiday time. What began as a spiral or shell like building developed into a more complex spiral, the Klein bottle. MCR were keen to be topologically true to the Klein bottle but it had to function as a home. We thought an origami version of the bottle would be achievable and hold some ironic fascination. (The resulting FC version also has a comforting relationship to the tradition of the Aussie cement sheet beach house).

The building (we think) is also within that tradition of the use of an experimental geometry that could be adapted to more suitably meet contemporary needs, and desires. In that sense it is within the heroic tradition of invigorating the very nature of the home, most notable of this tradition would be the great experimental heroic houses by Melbourne architects in the 50′s (McIntyre and Boyd in particular).

The house revolves around a central courtyard, a grand regal stair connecting all the levels. There is a sense of both being near and far to all occupants.

Its endless, curling shell-like quality particularly in the tee tree brings about a comforting togetherness.

Cite: "Klein Bottle house / McBride Charles Ryan" 24 Oct 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=7952>
  • hedgy

    The shape is interesting, i like the orientation, and the iner modeling of the space is wonderfull. Thumbs up !

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  • mike

    It would be interesting to see some diagrams (unrolled surface of the house) juxtaposed to a surface study of a klein bottle to see how it loops back on itself

  • Jing


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  • Calvin

    would love to see this in person

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  • Luis

    Good design. But the elevations look terrible. They could have made much better drawings, plus diagrams.

  • http://www.hillviewinteriors.com.au George Kennedy

    Our plastering team were proud to have completed the plastering on this exciting project. Hillview Interiors, Rosebud South

  • jOHNNY

    Your site is good

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  • http://www.l-a-v-a.net Kim

    To Frix and Contemporary Art…
    To all the Modern freaks that are raving about minimal architecture and other neo-modern corps, here is real interesting architecture example.

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  • Gary Randall

    Very interesting. The view in the stairwell towards the central court makes me dizzy. I would be interested to know how it “lives”.

  • dcalve

    It makes me laugh to see people commenting on how terrible the drawings look! Have you seen the final outcome of the building? In my eyes, a prime example of modern design, but then again if some of you guys would prefer to see a hand drawn 45 degree angle pitched roof then that is you decision I suppose.
    Congratulations on creating such a nice piece of architecture to all at McBride Charles Ryan.

    • TheDON

      Thanks mate.

      But the real GLORY should go to the Steelwork cad team who built the 3D model for the project.. Still waiting for $$$’s. mmmmmmm Don.

  • http://www.pretorius-art.com LargoJax

    Usually I dislike attempts at risky modern “sculptural” architecture, primarily because it seems wasteful since it’s usually on a large scale for public use or otherwise. I do like this project though since it’s a private residence. It’s dramatic and striking as sculptured architecture from the outside and the interiors seem to be executed to the highest standard in terms of finishing. it would be an interesting experience to live with it.

  • Lu

    I rally love this piece of art. the building the materials. very intresting. thank u

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  • 2MACoff


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  • Stan

    I wish we could get some detail drawing and discussion of the exterior materials. I love arch daily, but like so many magazines now – there is no discussion of how this stuff is built or made. It really is eye candy and we have no ideal how it all came to be – standing there on hte earth in all it’s glory! So unrealistic to not know the substance. Like looking a hot model and not knowing all the workouts and dieting the person went through every day.

  • http://bravointour.zp.ua Браво

    Спасибо большое уважаемый Блоггер.
    Твой блог просто сумашедший, а статья просто изумительная
    Заходи ко мне на сайт)

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  • http://willsegerman.com Will

    “We thought an origami version of the bottle would be achievable and hold some ironic fascination.”

    Maybe I’m missing something but how is that ironic?

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  • http://twitter.com/pfanderson/status/14982331453 P. F. Anderson

    RT @wizardgynoid: a klein bottle house in RL http://bit.ly/1s6Jw looks like something in SL.