There is no more beautiful way to start this story than in the words of Will Corner, the architect responsible for designing Ramp House, a stunning architectural masterpiece located in Warragul, a rural paradise, reclined across rolling hills in the centre of Victoria’s West Gippsland district. “We threw a stone in the lake,” he says. And as he watched the ripples spread and curve across the water, the inspiration for Ramp House was born.
“It was quite daunting to work with curves,” says Will. “It really felt good in terms of what was drawn and what was on the computer screen but then there’s the step into reality. Will it succeed? Will it perform in the way I want it to?” To Simon’s great pleasure and pride, it most certainly does. “Darren [the client] made a comment that when he jumps on his ride-on and does the circles around the house, he says there’s one particular point where it’s just his favourite and he stops the lawnmower and he looks up and he goes ‘wow’.”
Given that the property sits very near an equestrian facility, the clients were keen to ensure their privacy. “They didn’t want people to have to see through their front windows, see what’s happening inside, so we really, we blocked that off on the South face, and as you approach the house, as you open the door, it unveils the view.
“The ramp was brought up in initial designs and conversations with the clients. You require a lot of space to put a ramp in. We had that, so it became an option. We wanted to replicate what was happening outside. The long axis of the house suits the undulating surface [of the property] so from one end to the other it falls away. We wanted to replicate that inside so it’s as if you’re just walking down the hill to get the lower floor. It also provides the feel of space as it backs onto the living space upstairs, so the living space gets to enjoy the void and the light coming from the large single-pane window.
“The design was based on trying to avoid potential blow-outs so we tried to create standard size glazing and I initially had framed up mullions and sashes in the large window pane at the end of the ramp. It was the client’s idea to make it one single pane, so a specific suite had to be specified, and through the assistance of AWS we were able to provide that single pane. Now the result is, as you walk down the ramp, you have nothing but clear views of the tree lines which continue the curve of the house. So it was a collaboration between the specifier support team and a local fabricator to assist us in providing the right suite and the right design.
“Placement of windows was quite critical in that the clients wanted to appreciate the views at all times of the day and all spaces in the house, so the East side where we placed the master bedroom, the sliding doors, you could literally open your sliding doors, walk out onto a terrace and enjoy the views.
“As you walk through the house towards the living and study areas on the West side, the land falls away so you’re now on a first floor without having to go up or down stairs…obviously the impact of North-West facing sun had to be considered so we created a cantilevered balcony and a cantilevered rooftop. Large sliding doors open right up so you have a real connection with the outdoors and the surrounding lake and tree line.”
Will’s passion for Ramp House is inherent in every syllable he utters. Who better to describe the finished building? “When you’re standing at the lake looking back at the house it’s quite flat but as you walk towards the house, then it starts to express its true form, it starts to curve in front of you, and then as you walk up to the terrace of the master bedroom, that’s when it really, fully encloses you, it’s almost like an embracing. It’s like someone coming up to you and giving you a cuddle.”
Architect: Will Corner, Architects Corner
Photographer: Nic Granleese & SRH Communications