The Killcare Residence in New South Wales, Australia (also known as the Kronenberg House) sits upon a steeply sloping coastal block of land overlooking the South Pacific. Built by Tzannes Associates, it is not only a technically impressive build but also a remarkably elegant piece of design.
Established in 1983, and led by architect Alexander Tzannes, Tzannes Associates have established themselves in a range of large scale public projects but also smaller scale residential homes. For this house, which is intended as a holiday home, Tzannes worked with Philip Rossington, an associate in the firm.
Entrance to the home is from above. Visitors are required to climb a series of stairs before they arrive, creating a sense of having retreated from the world upon arrival. The views from the house are worth the effort and the design really makes the most of the sheer exposure afforded by the location on a steep hillside.
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Besides its remarkable location, perhaps the most striking feature of the house is the colour palette, which is relatively fixed, alternating between two prevailing colours. The first is a light brown timber that covers much of the interior of the house: the hoop pin plywood walls and joinery, the wooden floor, as well as kitchen fittings and dining furniture. This abundance of wood, is of course a nice reminder of the earlier manifestations of the modernist style.
Meanwhile, the timber tones are offset by the second prevailing colour, a rich (approaching dark) grey that pervades the structure, present across several materials: in minor touches like the stainless-steel kitchen worktop and appliances, on the exterior, which is clad in zinc with aluminium framed glass, also on the rear deck, constructed from tallow wood but finished in a natural grey stain, and most significantly in the steel frame structure itself. This is all, it would seem, to really anchor the house in the rough surroundings, where the craggy, boulder-strewn terrain presents a whole host of grey hues.
The rawness of the landscape is furthermore brought into sharp relief by the arrangement of the metal structure. The clean, almost minimalist arrangement of the beams and the wide-open wall of windows, really ensure that the terrain is emphasised to the full. Also notable is the second level, with another wall of windows, looking out to the hills above.
Photos via Tzannes Architects
This design was rightly lauded at the time of its completion in 1998, with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in New South Wales awarding it the Architecture Award and the Blacket Prize. It is an excellent example of how a house can both mirror and enhance its surroundings.
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