Cumulus House

Cumulus House

Chris Connell Design
Wye River, Victoria Australia | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Willem-Dirk du Toit
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Facade cladding: Compressed Fibre CementCemintel
Interior furnitureHAY
Aluminum Doors and WindowsAWS Australia
Roofing: ZincalumeBlueScope Steel
Flooring: OakMade By Storey
Interior lightingUnios

Product Spec Sheet
Facade cladding: Compressed Fibre Cement
Interior furniture
Aluminum Doors and Windows
Roofing: Zincalume
Flooring: Oak
Interior lighting
by Unios

Cumulus House

Chris Connell Design as Architects

Located on a steeply sloping block high above the Great Ocean Road. The house is both intensely private and outward-looking. Screened off from the street by a minimalist façade, its unique northern orientation takes full advantage of the 180-degree views towards Bass Strait and the Separation Creek valley below. Built as a weekend home for a young professional couple and their two children the house is paradigmatic of Californian modernism, taking cues from the seminal post-war design era fused with the quintessential Australian fibro beach house typology.


Organised across a single level the elegantly Miesian box expressed in a singular form, projects outwards into the tree canopy supported on slender columns. Maximizing views of the landscape and gaining greater solar access. The floor plan is set within the strict geometry of the golden rectangle. Internal circulation is via a generous 2-meter-wide corridor with bedrooms to either side accessed by full height sliding doors and when open allows for views diagonally through the living spaces to the ocean and valley beyond.


Ensuring all habitable rooms are connected to the landscape private balconies off the two main bedrooms provide retreat from the rest of the house while the deep reveals breakup the building’s form and provide protection from the sun. On plan a circle drawn within the rectangle determined the depth and width of these private balconies.


Key axes are drawn through the kitchen island and fireplace the proverbial heart and activity center of the home. Positioned on the house’s central axis at the end of the corridor the 4-sided fireplace acts as an anchor to the house. With the sliding glass doors open the fire can be enjoyed from both inside and outside on the main balcony.


Responding to the clients brief that all the building’s service spaces were to be hidden, allowing for uninterrupted engagement between the architecture and landscape. A clear distinction was made between living, sleeping and service spaces. The bathroom and laundry are concealed behind flush pivot doors with skylights providing natural light, positioned towards the rear corner of the building allowing to free the underside of the building from any visible service equipment. While two external storerooms for utilities and beach equipment are behind hidden doors finished in the same external façade material, maintaining the building’s austere elevation to the street.


Taking full advantage of the building’s northern orientation a 12-meter-wide glass façade made up of large sliding glazed doors opens to the main balcony maximizing indoor-outdoor living while providing an expansive, level, and sun-drenched space for the occupants to enjoy year-round. An external steel pergola structure projecting over the balcony a silhouette of the building’s structural rhythm provides sun shading. Canvas shade cloths attached between the structural bays also add colour to the neutral building palette and can be repositioned or removed depending on the time of year.


Material Used :
1. Facade cladding: Compressed Fibre Cement, Barestone External, Cemintel
2. Flooring: Oak, Ground, Made by Storey
3. Doors: Aluminum Doors, AWS Architectural Window Systems
4. Windows: Aluminum Windows, AWS Architectural Window Systems
5. Roofing: Bluescope Steel Zincalume
6. Interior lighting: Unios 
7. Interior furniture: HAY, Mags Soft sofa; Hay Revolver bar stool 

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