Circle House

2003
Victoria, Australia

A 12.6m diameter circle is embedded into the side of a sloping site in coastal Victoria. The excavated earth built back up around the circle so that the house presents as hole in the ground accessed through a gap in the circle via a courtyard space. This building is in fact a proposed Guest House to a larger family dwelling and its design was born from the strict controls over coastal precincts in much of Australia. As the planning authorities considered it we could have only one house on the allotment so we argued for a second (guest) house on the basis that it could not be seen from any adjoining property and the coastal vegetation would be re-instated around the building.

During the course of resolving the construction issues associated with this building we recognized its potential as a prototype for a weekend house in sensitive coastal precincts. The curved walls are pre-cast concrete and the solar skin is an operable system of sun filters and solar collectors developed by our office. The solar skin covers the glazed roof as well as the walls and provides a protective outer skin to the building as well as providing some of the power requirements. Rainwater is collected in tanks under the building and effluent is treated and used for the garden. It is the combination of these elements which enables this prototype to be sited in remote, unserviced locations with minimum impact on the environment.