The building is elemental, cave-like and has a horizontality that places layers of the building as primary of the hillside. One traverses the land physically and emotionally with the house. The bold leaning façade plays poetically with the sky and the land. This building unashamedly becomes one with its locale.
The Cabbage Tree House is a remarkable, complete Australian house that authentically and poetically embraces its landscape setting on Sydney’s northern beaches. Anchored in a rock shelf, the masonry structure leans back into the hillside as a “physical manifesto of the character of its place.”
Internally, the home has cave-like qualities. It is a sanctuary away from city life and is connected to the landscape. The scale of the building is broken down into smaller spaces of retreat and seclusion – all with views into vast bushland. Exposed concrete, steel and brickwork gives the impression of permanence and longevity, as well as having thermal mass benefits. The home is intended for comfort in all seasons: it captures cool breezes from the east in summer and is splayed to the north toward the winter sun.
Although this house is undeniably an impressive piece of architecture, it has the warmth, layers and inhabitation of a welcoming home. Every design detail is considered – from the circular skylights that give glimpses of blue skies above, to the handcrafted timber handrail to the stair. It is a house through which one can reconnect with nature – not as a museum piece, but as a home to be lived in. This home is the Australian House of the Year for it timeless qualities, impressive sculptural forms and connection to place.