Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan


Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The walls of this house in Australia by architects McBride Charles Ryan have origami-like facets and folds.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Located on the south coast, the holiday home is named after the Klein Bottle, which is the mathematical term for a surface with an indefinable left, right, top or bottom.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Rooms angle around a central courtyard and step upwards to negotiate the inclining landscape.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

On the facade, outer surfaces are painted black while recesses are finished in different shades of white and pale grey.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The residence was named best house at the 2011 2010 World Architecture Festival Awards. This year's awards took place in Barcelona back in November – read about the winners here and here.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The firm also recently completed a shimmering silver school with the silhouette of three houses - follow this link to see it.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Photography is by John Gollings.

Here's some more information about the project from McBride Charles Ryan:

Klein Bottle House

The Klein bottle is a descriptive model of a surface developed by topological mathematicians. Klein bottle, mobius strips, boy surfaces, unique surfaces that while they may be distorted remain topologically the same. I.e. a donut will remain topologically a donut if you twist and distort it, it will only change topologically if it is cut.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The surfaces that mathematicians have developed hold intrigue for architects as they hold a promise of new spatial relationships and configurations. Technology (CAD) has played an important part in all this, it is now more possible to efficiently describe more complex shapes and spaces and communicate these to the build. Previously the more orthogonal means of communication – plans, sections and elevations naturally encourage buildings which are more easily described in these terms, i.e. boxes.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

This holiday house is situated on the Mornington Peninsula 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. It is located within the tee–tree on the sand dunes, a short distance from the wild 16th beach. From the outset MCR wanted a building that nestled within the tree line. That talked about journey and the playfulness of holiday time. What began as a spiral or shell like building developed into a more complex spiral, the Klein bottle. MCR were keen to be topologically true to the Klein bottle but it had to function as a home. We thought an origami version of the bottle would be achievable and hold some ironic fascination. (The resulting FC version also has a comforting relationship to the tradition of the Aussie cement sheet beach house).

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The building (we think) is also within that tradition of the use of an experimental geometry that could be adapted to more suitably meet contemporary needs, and desires. In that sense it is within the heroic tradition of invigorating the very nature of the home, most notable of this tradition would be the great experimental heroic houses by Melbourne architects in the 50’s (McIntyre and Boyd in particular).
The house revolves around a central courtyard, a grand regal stair connecting all the levels. There is a sense of both being near and far to all occupants.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Click above for larger image

Its endless, curling shell-like quality particularly in the tee tree brings about a comforting togetherness.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Colour Usage

Central to the expression of the origami ‘Klein Bottle’ is the use of colour facets (subtle as they are) - in Antique white and Pearl Ash. These subtle variants emphasize the facets and hence the origami like quality of the house.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

The black perimeter to the house – (other than where the panoramic windows encapsulate the internal and external vista), is deliberate and important. The black walls highlight and accentuate the beautiful wild natural surroundings. The black internally has the effect of framing a view of nature, giving one the feeling that from inside the house has landed within a natural wonderland. We did not want any distraction from this, and the black paint aids the power of the ti tree surroundings. It is the ideal weekend getaway for the inhabitants who can immerse themselves in nature in stark contrast to their busy city lives.

Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan

Floor Area: 258m2 approx
Principal Architects: Rob McBride, Debbie-Lyn Ryan Project team: Drew Williamson, Fang Cheah Clients/Builders: Donna & Mark Howlett

  • rik

    Woops! Slipped a line in sketchup.

  • LOW


  • frank

    less is more!

  • Astonishing.

  • Stuart

    Function follows form.

  • Samuel

    sketch it up!

  • natalie

    nice crisp folds. i would love to see a section!

  • alex

    Sketchup users – Group your objects!

  • archi

    Ornament is crime

  • With all the crisp angles meeting at such fine lines' I wonder what the house will look like in time?

  • martini-girl

    It really bugs me to see traditional holiday villages in Melbourne and Sydney over run with overly complicated, large and cluttered designs.

  • I too miss the holiday shack… boxes sure, but charming all the same.
    This house seems very refined, but I wish the architects of this kind of work would stop justifying it on the basis of it being "new" and say more about the "spatial relationships and configurations."

  • The Klein Bottle House by Mcbride Charles Ryan has won the category award for world's best house, at the 2009 World Architecture Festival Awards.

  • britt

    You can check out the documentary about McBride Charles Ryan here: https://www.facebook.com/LifeArchitecturally

  • douglas

    That’s not what a Klein bottle is AT ALL! It is a theoretical 3D shape with only one side, like the Möbius strip. It is not “a surface with an indefinable left, right, top or bottom.”