The history of the single-family house in Sydney during the last century is one that fuses an evolving approach to our relationship with the landscape with a history of experimentation in residential house design. These two strands have come together most memorably in the occupation of the steep and often spectacular landscapes around the inner harbour and the modes of habitation made possible in the way these houses relate to their site and Sydney’s benign climate. This project is sited in one of these classic Sydney contexts, Castle Cove, where steep ravines contain tributaries that flow through angophora bushland down to the harbour. The sandstone geology is omnipresent and takes many forms, from mighty escarpments to minor ripples in the bedrock. These landscape tectonics inform the design, where a concrete shell of irregular geometry steps around outcrops and contours, creating an indeterminate form that is distinctively new but also could equally be a strange object ‘unearthed’ in excavation. Either way, the concrete element reverberates with the site geometry while forming a built escarpment that provides a plateau for habitation.
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