An Internationally Celebrated Home in the Australian Backcountry Asks $9M

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
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Tucked under a ridgeline in the Blue Mountains, Invisible House opens to spectacular valley views while protected from the formidable climate.

Just over two hours west of Sydney, Invisible House by acclaimed Australian architect Peter Stutchbury resides on over 162 acres of rugged landscape on the western slopes of the Blue Mountains. The territory here is dry and elemental, shaped by extreme wind and temperature, and also home to mesmerizing beauty: eucalyptus trees and tussock grass dot the vistas where sheep used to roam, and now kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, and birds thrive. The four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence is sited under the brow of a ridge, protecting it from harsh conditions while camouflaging it with the surroundings, giving the home its name. Originally designed for director Alex Proyas, known for films such as The Crow and I, Robot, Invisible House has won numerous awards, including Australian House of the Year and a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award for International Excellence.

An entrance gallery along the residence's western elevation leads residents into a flowing open floor plan. Living spaces stretch towards views of Megalong Valley to the east.

An entrance gallery along the residence's western elevation leads residents into a flowing open floor plan. Living spaces stretch towards views of Megalong Valley to the east.

Visitors who approach the home will see two rust-red steel structures on the dramatic cantilevered roof, which creates a shimmering effect when full of water. As Stutchbury describes, "Invisible House can be there or cannot...If the roof, with water, reflects the sky this building will never be found—until it is discovered." One structure is a light scoop that circulates light and air through the interior, and the other holds two bedrooms and a bathroom in a second-story loft space. In all aspects, the structure embodies Stutchbury’s sensitivity to uniquely Australian landscape. Built with a robust material palette of concrete, Mudgee stack stone, steel, hoop pine plywood, and raw brass and copper, Invisible House references the natural forms it is embedded within and oriented to take advantage of enchanting valley views.

The entrance gallery provides a meditative sense of arrival and a counterpoint to the rest of the house, which is exposed on three sides. The Mudgee tiger skin stack stone wall was created over hundreds of hours by the project's dedicated builder and hand-crafter.

The entrance gallery provides a meditative sense of arrival and a counterpoint to the rest of the house, which is exposed on three sides. The Mudgee tiger skin stack stone wall was created over hundreds of hours by the project's dedicated builder and hand-crafter.

Throughout the 4,607-square-foot residence, the materials used in the built environment speak to the natural environment. Here, raw brass railings and inserts in the concrete wall plugs give off a star-like glimmer in the gallery, which originally showcased the homeowner's art collection.

Throughout the 4,607-square-foot residence, the materials used in the built environment speak to the natural environment. Here, raw brass railings and inserts in the concrete wall plugs give off a star-like glimmer in the gallery, which originally showcased the homeowner's art collection.

The pantry, kitchen, living, and dining room are in one seamless circulation that leads to a northern terrace and a central outdoor courtyard.

The pantry, kitchen, living, and dining room are in one seamless circulation that leads to a northern terrace and a central outdoor courtyard.

The light scoop illuminates a ceiling of sinuous plywood slats.

The light scoop illuminates a ceiling of sinuous plywood slats.

A wood-burning stove and hydronic and geothermal heating systems ensure that the residence is warm and inviting despite its openness to the outdoors.

A wood-burning stove and hydronic and geothermal heating systems ensure that the residence is warm and inviting despite its openness to the outdoors.

A centrally placed bathroom features an oversized concrete tub and bespoke brass and copper fixtures. A slim pane of glass allows you to take in views beyond the open terrace and firepit, while the glass ceiling exposes the room to the changing sky.

A centrally placed bathroom features an oversized concrete tub and bespoke brass and copper fixtures. A slim pane of glass allows you to take in views beyond the open terrace and firepit, while the glass ceiling exposes the room to the changing sky.

The hallmark of Peter Stutchbury's architecture, soulfully embodied by Invisible House, is a respect for and synchronicity with the Australian landscape. 

The hallmark of Peter Stutchbury's architecture, soulfully embodied by Invisible House, is a respect for and synchronicity with the Australian landscape. 

The territory here is dry and elemental, shaped by extreme wind and temperature, and also home to mesmerizing beauty.

The four bedrooms are encased in warm plywood, offering intimacy while still providing access to grand vistas. 

The four bedrooms are encased in warm plywood, offering intimacy while still providing access to grand vistas. 

One of the bathrooms is lofted on the second level alongside two other bedrooms.

One of the bathrooms is lofted on the second level alongside two other bedrooms.

An outdoor firepit anchors the central terrace, which looks out over the escarpment.

An outdoor firepit anchors the central terrace, which looks out over the escarpment.

Situated in a UNESCO World Heritage listed region, the home takes full advantage of the remote surroundings while remaining connected to mountain hamlets and larger urban centers.

Situated in a UNESCO World Heritage listed region, the home takes full advantage of the remote surroundings while remaining connected to mountain hamlets and larger urban centers.

"Invisible House can be there or cannot...If the roof, with water, reflects the sky this building will never be found—until it is discovered." -Peter Stutchbury

The concrete roof of Invisible House cantilevers almost four meters west and four meters east, shielding the house and creating a dam that contributes to its disappearing effect.

The concrete roof of Invisible House cantilevers almost four meters west and four meters east, shielding the house and creating a dam that contributes to its disappearing effect.

Invisible House is on the market for $9 million. To learn more, visit the website.