Bluff House by Rob Kennon Architects
Rob Kennon Architects has completed the Bluff House project located in Flinders, Australia. This wonderful coastal home with just over 4,000 square feet of living spaces makes its single-story living spaces worth enjoying every second, thanks to the epic views of the surrounding nature.
On the Flinders bluff, this full-time, dual ownership coastal home sits as an object in the landscape, co-existing but not integrating, compelling but not dominating. The house evokes a sense of transparency and purity while also providing protection from the coastal environment.
Cutting the center of the site is the meeting point of two geologies, resulting in a landslip-affected zone. Abutting the fault line, a basement, housing the children’s bedrooms and play space, is submerged three quarters of its height into the ground. The exposed quarter allows for natural light, views and ventilation. This basement acts like a large occupied footing, anchoring the house deep into the escarpment.
Above, two parallel plates cantilever off the reinforced blockwork to extend the building over the land slip terrain, maximising views to the coastline and the ocean panorama. The shadow line created by the partially exposed lower level creates a sense of being suspended within the landscape but not completely detached.
On approach you are led alongside a concrete wall obscuring your destination. To reach the house you cross the garden before stepping up onto the platform where you experience the vastness of the ocean framed by native Casuarinas.
Within the unified triangulated form (informed by the sites limits and the angle of the fault line) an open living area separates two master bedroom zones and opens onto dual outdoor living environments. Each with diffused natural light, they embody their own spatial qualities and ensure usage in different weather scenarios. The lightweight upper steel form is juxtaposed by the masonry construction below, embedded in the earth it is a refuge. Through the careful modulation of natural light and shadow a sense of calmness is welcomed.
The palate of materials recedes in the landscape: stained black, the spotted gum shiplap clads the exterior form and is balanced by full bleed glazing that mirrors hues of the landscape. A continuous volcanic stone has been laid over the upper floor to further reinforce the platform. The imperfections in the stone and timber wall linings brings movement to the otherwise ordered structure. Complemented by the parallel uninterrupted ceiling plane, the constant datum defining the upper form correlates to the vast horizon and accentuate the dramatic panoramic views.
Throughout the house there is a continuous theme of concealment, joinery and doors have been detailed in such a way that are integrated into the walls. These read as continuous planes dividing the platform accentuating the view and hiding the record of daily life. A series of shutters and screens throughout the house filter light to control desired spatial qualities. Shafts of light pierce the plan to bring natural ventilation and light deep into the house.
This project is discreet and does not dominate its delicate context. It solves the functional and programmatic requirements of a home suitable for two families and accentuates its surrounding natural environment.