Sharif Abraham Architects

Main Ridge House
Project under construction

On a steep slope deep in the wine country on the Mornington Peninsula, the site is a large farming allotment with distant views of the sea, framed by an old kneeling pine and an open paddock.

The new house is located on the lower side of the slope in the open paddock. This allows privacy and seclusion to the client and his family.

Between the house and the view and in a natural depression in the land, a dam is formed to provide focus to the paddock and a connection with the water beyond.

From the road, through the thick cluster of pines, the house reveals only its roof to the visitor. The roof is conceived as a large horizontal garden with manicured raked gravel (similar to that one finds in Japanese gardens) intervened by seaside grasses and large rectangular penetrations of the internal courtyards below. It is only beyond the road past a grove of fruit trees and a “perfect lawn” - for enjoying the fruit- that the house’s form and materiality become evident.

Clad in distressed steel to resemble an archilogical relic, the house sits in a new garden of grasses and mounds. It is composed of two wings, one facing the view to the sea and other positioned along the slope. A long ramp descends between these two wings to an entrance under a covered Canopy. The shape of the canopy inspired by the soft curves of snakes, a common reptile in this area. The descend down the ramp provides an intentionally slow transition inviting the visitor to slow down and experiences the surrounding landscape.

The main wing facing the view contains the living areas and bedrooms for the client and his family. The other wing contains a retreat for guests and the client’s elderly parents. The lower rooms in the main wing contain and industrious quarters for making wine and cheese.

As you enter the house you are welcomed by a tree in a courtyard suspended in a mound of rocks - a reference to the rock formations one finds in farms in Europe. Various other courtyards bring greenery and light into the spaces and allow for vertical views up the hill to the pine trees at the road. The same distressed steels used on the exterior is carried into the interior walls in slightly different variations and is offset with dark rich concrete ceilings and floors. The use of the same materials on the exterior internally, together with the greenery in the courtyards provides for a feeling inside the house of being outside and “in” the landscape itself.

The bathrooms are conceived as open plan wetrooms- similar to Bathing Capsule - but occluded. They enable the full unencumbered experience of water. The walls, floors and ceilings are covered in deep burgundy tiles, offset by concrete shafts with skylights.

A studio is included the downstairs area of the main wing. A large sliding door connects this directly to the Paddock. The door opens completely at the level the paddock, allowing the space to enter into dialogue with the sky, the dam and the site itself.

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