A Layered Home in Coastal Australia That Merges With the Limestone Terrain

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Located in Victoria, Australia, on a site that's lined with limestone shelves and underground caves, this house was designed as a series of layers with intersecting zones that frame private vistas.

Though the 4,844-square-foot house is close to the beach, it didn't have panoramic sea views. So, when St Kilda-based architectural practice Robson Rak took on the project, they incorporated a void with a striking spiral staircase, allowing the residents to enjoy beautiful views as they ascend the stairs.

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Small internal courtyard terraces around the main living area connect the interiors with the natural surroundings, which is filled with tea trees. 

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The aluminum doors and windows are fitted with thermally-broken double glazing, and louvers are used throughout the house to help with cross ventilation. 

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Expansive doors, large glazed windows, and a skylight above the kitchen flood the interiors with daylight.  

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Sensitive to its context and site, the house was built by local artisans using local materials including timber and sustainable rammed earth, which is low-maintenance. 

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Both materials were chosen for their ability to age gracefully over time, giving the house a textural quality that reflects the limestone terrain around it. 

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The pale concrete floors are equipped with hydronic heating, which evenly warms the home during the winter.  

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Aquamarine blues and greens were used for furniture and finishings to delineate the functional zones within the house—such as this green-tiled island bench.

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These colors, which echo the shades of the sea and tea trees, further connect the outdoor landscape with the internal spaces.   

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Project Credits: 

-Architecture: Kathryn Robson of Robson Rak

-Interior design: Robson Rak

-Builder: Heyward Construction

-Structural engineer: Meyer Consulting

-Landscape design: Mia Looke