Klein Bottle House

Klein Bottle House


This weekend house is located on heavily ti-treed sand hills adjacent the ocean beach in Rye.

Its spiral configuration is a spatial device which responds to the difficult topography, it is also a figure rich in coastal allusions. By passing the spiral back through itself the house has become the mathematical concept of the Klein Bottle.

This strategy has unlocked a new series of relationships and sequential spatial experience.

The ‘contents’ of the ‘bottle’ are a rectilinear platform and walls which make the abstract geometry inhabitable. A dramatic stair winds around an internal courtyard picking up the bedrooms of the house as it ascends, the journey ending in the great living room.

Externally the building is predominantly clad in cement sheeting, simultaneously recalling both folded origami, tents and the ubiquitous ‘fibro-shack’. The building is supported by a traditional timber stud frame – pushed to its physical limit.

Melbourne, Australia

World Architecture Festival

Category Winner – Worlds Best House 2009

Grand Designs – United Kingdom
Best International Home 2010

RAIA – Robyn Boyd Award

New Residential Architecture 2008

RAIA – Victorian Chapter
Harold Desbrowe Annear Award (New Residential Architecture) 2008

Dulux Colour Award
Winner, Residential Exterior 2008

Site Plan

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.

The black perimeter of 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.


The building is a lightweight structure largely clad in cement and metal sheet, incombustible and lightweight these materials meet stringent fire overlays. The building harvests water, is double glazed and the large cavities between the external and internal cladding allow packing with bulk insulation. The central courtyard adds cooling and cross-ventilation, Windows are hardwood, Flooring bamboo and artificial lighting selected for its efficiency.