Main Ridge Residence by
McAllister Alcock Architects

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Walls of Corten steel and timber surround this house by McAllister Alcock Architects on a vineyard in Mornington Peninsula, Australia (+ slideshow).

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

Entitled Main Ridge Residence, the single-storey house features a central courtyard that is open to the north, as well as a protruding living room that projects eastwards to frame views towards the fields of a neighbouring strawberry farm.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

"The site had no clear 'hero' views with which to orientate the building," explains Victoria-based McAllister Alcock Architects. "However there were a series of lovely, albeit modest aspects... The architecture retains the memory of these existing landscape vistas and uses them as an ordering device."

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

The house is divided into two main wings. The first stretches along the eastern edge of the site to accommodate a row of bedrooms and bathrooms, while the second wraps around the south-west corner and contains family rooms as well as a small guest suite.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

These two sections are visually separated by materials, with the timber cladding lining the eastern side of the house and chunky Corten steel walls framing an entrance on the western facade.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

Beyond the entranceway, an enclosed patio leads residents either into the house or through to the courtyard beyond, and is framed by walls of concrete.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

Living and dining areas occupy a single space beneath a faceted plywood ceiling. A timber drum divides the space into two and contains a pantry and a spiral staircase, leading down to a wine cellar beneath the house.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

Other recently completed houses in Australia include a Sydney bungalow into a two-storey residence and a Melbourne beach house built from recycled bricks and rough-sawn timber. See more Australian houses on Dezeen.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects

Exterior photography is by Derek Swalwell and interior photography is by Shannon McGrath.

Here's a project description from McAllister Alcock Architects:


Main Ridge Residence, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

The Main Ridge house sits within an established working vineyard located on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. The brief was for a comfortable 4 bedroom family home with a visual connection to the vines and which provided an area suitable for entertaining the international guests who visit our clients' winery.

We are 'urban architects', used to working with the constraints of existing built form and planning regulations and creating architecture in residual urban space. We consider our work to be contextual, an architectural response to the urban 'found' conditions. In this case the context for the house was abstract; the site had no clear 'hero' views with which to orientate the building. The best northern solar orientation faces away from the vines, while to the west an existing artificial cutting separated the house site from the vines and the view to the east was dominated by a large and visually 'messy' strawberry farm. However there were a series of lovely, albeit modest aspects: to the north a view beneath trees full of dappled light and a promise of what lies beyond; to the south a gentle rolling grassy slope terminating at the vines. The architecture retains the memory of these existing landscape vistas and uses them as an ordering device – externally with the form and placement of the new building and internally with the orientation of the inside spaces.

Main Ridge Residence by McAllister Alcock Architects
Floor plan - click for larger image and key

On approach the house is hidden by two 20 metre long angled weathered 'Corten' steel walls. On entering through a gap between the walls – reminiscent of the original cutting - the house and site reveal themselves. The residence is comprised of pavilions enclosing three sides of a sheltered, north facing courtyard. The courtyard design maximises northern light to the interior and creates zones within the home: one for more private family living and another that can also cater for entertaining guests. A sculptured limed plywood ceiling provides a horizontal ribbon linking the public and private areas of the main pavilion, and contributes visual 'drama' while still maintaining a comfortable residential scale. A pod-like timber 'drum' marks the pivot point between the public and private realms and hides a butler's pantry, the staircase to the wine cellar, and sliding doors to zone the spaces.

At the start of the project our clients were not overly impressed with the attributes of their site and were not fond of the view to the strawberry farm. The design of the residence has changed our clients' perception of their environs by carefully selecting and 'framing' vignettes so that the inhabitants are encouraged to pause, and appreciate the special characteristics of a landscape setting that has more 'depth' than just the strong graphic rows of grapevines.

Location: Main Ridge, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Architects: McAllister Alcock Architects
Project Type: New House
Project Team: Karen Alcock, Clare McAllister, Maria Danos, Brett Seakins, Jack Tu