This gorgeous home in Australian sits smack in the middle of a Spotted Gum forest, so in order to embrace the pristine landscape without damaging any trees the home was designed with the lightest possible footprint. Sydney-based Richard Cole Architecture employed a timber and steel framing system and a cantilevered driveway to preserve the root systems of the spotted gum trees on the property. Vernacular architecture and materials featured in local Pittwater cottages inspired the design of the home, which features an array of energy-efficient systems and collects rainwater.
Located on an incline in the Pittwater area, the Hilltop House responds to the slope by terracing down the hillside without cutting into the ground and damaging root systems. The relatively compact, steel framed home takes advantage of the views from the upper levels and uses piers and beams for its foundation. The driveway and part of the home is cantilevered off the ground to minimize its footprint on the earth below. Large roof overhangs passively protect the home from the western sun.
The home is built from a limited palette of materials – mostly steel, regional woods, and durable cement fiber boards are used for the exterior. Wood joinery and rafters align to mirror the tall and straight flow of the trees surrounding the home. Energy-efficient LED lighting, daylighting, and natural ventilation reduce the need for mechanical and electrical systems inside the home while opening up the inside to the surrounding nature. Additionally, the project’s roof collects rainwater, which is recycled for use within the home.