Earthships emerged as a prominent form of architecture in the late 20th century when a group of architects felt it incumbent on them to act on behalf of the planet. Architects today are putting their spin on the 70s sustainability movement, employing modern technology and materials to take Earthships to the next level. These homes are often off-the-grid and utilise natural and up-cycled materials to promote passive, sustainable living.
Luigi Rosselli Architects and Alwill Interiors have taken this concept of adaptive reuse and connection to the environment and extended it to the revival of a Sydney cliff-top home. As you make your way down the stairs to each of the four levels, there is a strong feeling that you are journeying back down to Earth.
The expansive living space on the third floor features a painting by Michael Cusack.
The Journey; the Architecture
Visitors to Earthship approach from above, navigating a steep driveway to reach a level, landscaped courtyard; a landing spot to take in the sweeping harbour views before entering. The exterior rammed earth walls, which also appear inside, are constructed in a warm pink reminiscent of the famous Casa Malaparte villa on the island of Capri. As you step inside, you come to the top of a staircase cascading down the house’s four levels. Above, a deep void is capped with a large skylight, showering you with natural light as you embark on your long journey down.
The first level you land on is the main living-dining-kitchen area with views out to the harbour. After that, you make your way down to the lower levels, which house the bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a sunroom and private gym. Each floor has a generous ocean-facing balcony, echoing the bow of a ship as it makes its way towards the horizon.
Alwill Interiors director Romaine Alwill maintains that the architecture heavily influenced the interiors of Earthship. “The client requested a very grounded, earthy palette; they wanted the interiors to integrate with the architecture,” she says. The rammed earth walls draw a full circle between the inside and outside while also imparting a signature colour to the home. Additionally, the interiors were approached in a way that positions the natural environment as the focal point; “simple colours, textures and shapes ensure the spectacular outlook remains front and centre,” Romaine adds.