Dome House

Dome House


This project is a home in Hawthorn designed to accommodate at the various stages of its life, a family, a single person and a single person with a large visiting family. The project explores the configuration of domestic space within an established leafy inner suburb.

McBride Charles Ryan had experimented with the fragmented sphere since the early 1990s. The desire to generate new architectural form through the cutting, fragmentation and erosion of a “pure architecture” is a formal strategy with some parallels to the work of Gordon Matta-Clark.

In this project, the copper clad sphere is partially buried, and then eroded internally, and at on the north and south sides to create two different gardens. The central ground floor space is detailed as a continuation of the exterior gardens, and all other spaces are either arched over or dispersed around this main space.

The eroded external faces of the dome are treated in materials which vary in texture, colour and scale. By contrast, the walls and ceiling of surrounding rooms within the dome are absent of colour and material expression but share with the exterior a system of articulation based upon a cube or pixels.

Fragments of the dome form garden seats, letterbox, fence and a sculptural meter enclosure. These fragments assist the viewer in interpreting the purity of the dome in contrast to the
picturesque expression created through erosion.

Hawthorn, VIC - Australia

Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Awards 2005

Winner – Residential Architecture Award


Rainwater is collected from the copper clad roof by concealed gutters and is stored in rainwater tanks installed under the south deck. The dome house also utilizes solar hot water, a drip garden watering system and double glazing to maximize energy efficiency. These simple sustainable elements have been integrated into the home so as to have a minimal aesthetic impact.