The Cabbage Tree House by Peter Stutchbury Architects is a manifestation of the character of its environment. Embedded in a hillside in the Australian suburb of Bayview, the cave-like house is a reflection of the firm’s well-known specialty in designing residential projects that complement Australia‘s unique landscapes.
The Cabbage Tree House is a manifestation of the character of its environment
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 give the impression of permanence and longevity and have 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.
The house is a “protective armature, that sits with its back into the hill and opens its arms to the north”
In the materiality of masonry and concrete, and the form anchored into the site, Cabbage Tree House strongly emphasizes the architecture’s relationship with the earth. Yet, the other three elements of nature, wind, fire, and water, are also actively engaged in the design. The house is a “protective armature, that sits with its back into the hill and opens its arms to the north,” Peter Stutchbury says. This northern orientation serves to enhance the relationship between the elements – the sun warms the interior spaces, with the building’s substantial thermal mass storing the warmth from both the sun and the wood fire in winter. In summer, thermal mass, air, and water work in concert to passively cool the house, with cross-flow ventilation drawing breezes across the creek below and the pool adjacent to the living space.
Photography by Derek Swalwell