A Subtropical Experience

Wybelenna was a house born out of a remnant of a Robin Gibson cottage that existed on the site and was a landmark in the area. The design, inspired by the work of both Gibson (and Neutra in turn) is a contemporary take of the modernist language, a narrative which runs throughout the design, down to the “orb” fireplace. The house enjoys a long, linear plan with all rooms designed to soak up winter sun and give direct pool and garden access for the long summers. Working with modernist principals the house is all about form and material. The natural Abyss split stone extends from the outside in, as does the timber and the tiling. A very limited palette of materials has been used to reinforce this idea of integrating the indoor and outdoor spaces. The seats even extend through thresholds to blur these inevitable lines. The choice of materials is governed more by what one would expect outside, than in. In so doing the experience of the house is made more about the outdoor and subtropical experience.

The house, despite its size, has a strong sustainability agenda and includes turf roofs, 140,000L of water, 15KW of solar power, recycled materials (stone and timber) along with all the “first principal” design ideas that one would expect. A natural palette of zinc, tallow wood, Abyss split stone walling and flooringRaven granite and cobblestones, and travertine create a robust aesthetic that aims toward a timeless architecture.