Everybody loves a surprise the excitement that comes from the senses being greeted with just a little more than was expected. However, this is not usually a feeling you would hope to encounter on entering a home.
From the road, this home appears to be a small, contemporary, one-storey building but once inside, its true form is evident. The owners of this home originally had development approval to go up one more floor, but then they had a brain wave why not go down?
The top floor is built close to the street, with the garage aligned with the road. After drilling six metres into the rock below, it was possible to create two more floors, which extend down the cliff face to a pool and patio area built on a rock platform.
Architect Phillip Rossington from Tzannes Associates co-directed the project with Alec Tzannes. He says the owners didn't want to impede on the views of neighbouring homes.
"It was important to keep within the envelope of the existing building, but building down into the steep cliff was very difficult. The builders had to erect platforms to build from and to store materials on, as they were building on where they stood," he says.
Entry from the street is through a triangular courtyard. The front door then opens into a foyer area, which offers a first glimpse of the extensive harbour views beyond. This floor is devoted to living and entertaining. Oriented to the north over the water, the roof is scooped to let sunlight in until late in the day. On the southern side, clerestory glazing allows the room to be bathed in an even, natural light. Louvres can be opened to allow cross-ventilation.