Brief and Design
The Klein bottle is a descriptive model of a surface developed by topological mathematicians.
Klein bottle, mobius strips, boy surfaces, unique surfaces that while they may be distorted remain
topologically the same. I.e. a donut will remain topologically a donut if you twist and distort it, it will
only change topologically if it is cut.
The surfaces that mathematicians have developed hold intrigue for architects as they hold a
promise of new spatial relationships and configurations. Technology (CAD) has played an
important part in all this, it is now more possible to efficiently describe more complex shapes and
spaces and communicate these to the build. Previously the more orthogonal means of
communication – plans, sections and elevations naturally encourage buildings which are more
easily described in these terms, i.e. boxes.
This holiday house is situated on the Mornington Peninsula 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. It is
located within the tee–tree on the sand dunes, a short distance from the wild 16th beach. From the
outset MCR wanted a building that nestled within the tree line. That talked about journey and the
playfulness of holiday time. What began as a spiral or shell like building developed into a more
complex spiral, the Klein bottle. MCR were keen to be topologically true to the Klein bottle but it
had to function as a home. We thought an origami version of the bottle would be achievable and
hold some ironic fascination. (The resulting FC version also has a comforting relationship to the
tradition of the Aussie cement sheet beach house).
The building (we think) is also within that tradition of the use of an experimental geometry that
could be adapted to more suitably meet contemporary needs, and desires. In that sense it is within
the heroic tradition of invigorating the very nature of the home, most notable of this tradition would
be the great experimental heroic houses by Melbourne architects in the 50’s (McIntyre and Boyd in
The house revolves around a central courtyard, a grand regal stair connecting all the levels. There
is a sense of both being near and far to all occupants.
Its endless, curling shell-like quality particularly in the tee tree brings about a comforting
Central to the expression of the origami ‘Klein Bottle’ is the use of colour facets (subtle as they are)
- in Antique white and Pearl Ash. These subtle variants emphasize the facets and hence the
origami like quality of the house.
The black perimeter to the house – (other than where the panoramic windows encapsulate the
internal and external vista), is deliberate and important. The black walls highlight and accentuate
the beautiful wild natural surroundings. The black internally has the effect of framing a view of
nature, giving one the feeling that from inside the house has landed within a natural wonderland.
We did not want any distraction from this, and the black paint aids the power of the ti tree
surroundings. It is the ideal weekend getaway for the inhabitants who can immerse themselves in
nature in stark contrast to their busy city lives.
La bottiglia di Klein, il nastro di Möbius, la superficie di Boy, sono tutte superfici che possono essere distorte restando topologicamente le stesse.
Come suggerisce il nome stesso, il progetto di Rob McBride e Debbie-Lyn Ryan sviluppa il concetto topologico di “Bottiglia di Klein” (dal nome del matematico tedesco Felix Klein che l’ha descritta per la prima volta nel 1882), una superficie chiusa ad una faccia per la quale non c’è distinzione fra “interno” ed “esterno”. La percezione di chi la osserva cambia continuamente poiché ogni punto di riferimento risulta distorto.
La struttura ruota attorno ad un cortile centrale che prende forma dalla torsione di una grande scala che collega i diversi livelli. La geometria della Casa Klein Bottle potrebbe essere descritta immaginando un nastro di cemento che, ripiegandosi su se stesso, segue un andamento a spirale in cui diventa copertura, parete e pavimento.