No, It's an Unusual Australian Beach House. But Your Mistake Is Understandable...
When it comes to unusual homes, they don't come much more unusual than Cocoon -- a zeppelin-shaped home which lofts above its steep site, nestled in the canopy of Australian native treetops.
When Michael Bellemo & Cat MacLeod of Bellemo & Cat Architects discovered the site, the price was almost too good to be true. It was far cheaper than comparatively sized blocks in the popular holiday spot, Wye River. The discounted price was due to the extreme steepness of the site, making it almost undevelopable. But what would be a near impossible task for a regular family was a tasty challenge for artist/architect team Michael and Cat.
On this steep site, they created a sculptural home which balances among the treetops, stealing a stunning glimpse of the azure coast below.
Balancing Act: By balancing the home on steel supports, it is able to loft above the steep incline. Its height allows it to capture 180 degree views of Wye River's leafy valley and the stunning blue ocean.
Walk the Plank: A gangway connects the home to the only flat spot on the site.
Rustic Relic: Imperfect steel sheets clad the egg-shaped home. The rustic look from the outside makes it more like a lost relic than a space age machine -- fitting for the rugged coastal location.
Beach Chic: White-washed plywood on the floor, walls and ceiling differentiate the light, bright (and beachy) interior from the rich green canopy outside. A large sliding glass door on two sides of the living area opens the space and connects it to the natural environment. This really gives the sense that you're living with the local Koala's among the trees. (Yes, I said Koala's. The home's closest neighbors are Koala's).
Disappearing Act: The wrap-around glass effectively dissolves into the surroundings. All you're left with is a spectacular outlook over the Wye River Valley.
Bigger's Not Better: The living area is not huge. In fact the whole home isn't very big. But with a view like that, you never feel cramped. Plus, there's always the beach and the Otway Ranges to explore...
Bunk Beds: In traditional holiday home style, it's bunk beds for the kids. The master bedroom is accessed through the kid's bunk room, keeping the floor plan minimal and economical (and eliminating wasteful corridors).
Acrylic Walls: In the bathroom, a translucent acrylic covers the walls. This is an easy-to-clean and hygienic alternative to tiles.
Best Spot in the House: While the view from the living area is beautiful, it's not hard to see why the master bedroom is the best spot in the house. Here in the curved end of the Cocoon, a built-in bed nestles into the timber. It also becomes clear how many boat-building and caravan details were used to craft this curvaceous space.
A Zeppelin in the Making: This image of the home being constructed shows how inventive zeppelin-making principles made the home structurally sound. Timber 'ribs' run the length of the home and the rooms are simply slotted between. Finally, straps of flexible timber were woven around the home giving it bracing support -- and its name, Cocoon.
Special Glimpses: Small windows for light and ventilation in the sleeping end of the Cocoon give delightful little glimpses of the bracing 'silk' which wraps and supports the home.
Right at Home: Despite its unusual form, Cocoon looks right at home floating in the treetops. In fact, the curvaceous lines and warm glow of the interior make it feel more animal than structure.
A Beach House for the Treetops
Locals in the sleepy beach-side township of Wye River affectionately refer to it as The Football House.
Kids call it Eggy House.
Some mistake it for a crash-landing blimp.
This home is neither zeppelin, football or Good Year Blimp -- it's a laid-back, bushy, beach retreat. And it's an elegant solution to a steep, difficult site.