Sustainable architecture has gained momentum in recent years, with designers and architects exploring innovative ways to build eco-friendly homes. Earthships, a style of architecture developed in the late 20th century, are one such approach that embraces natural and upcycled materials to create sustainable dwellings.
Luigi Rosselli Architects’ Earth-Ship House is a prime example of adaptive reuse and connection to the environment, where an existing home was revitalized with sustainable design elements.
Earth-Ship House Technical Information
- Architects1-7: Luigi Rosselli & Nicola Ghirardi
- Location: Mosman, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
- Topics: Rammed Earth, Houses
- Project Year: 2022
- Photographs: © Prue Ruscoe
Luigi Rosselli has never much been a fan of ‘pole houses’, constructed with the intention of admiring the view from above while denying contact and symbiosis with the natural habitat the house occupies. As such, the aim with Earthship was to bring the existing two storeys of the house down to earth by adding a further two storeys below them to create a direct link to the garden.– Luigi Rosselli Architects
Earth-Ship House Photographs
Text by the Architects
Architecturally, Earthships form part of the discipline of adaptive reuse. They embrace a style of architecture developed in the late 20th century, which aims to utilize both natural and upcycled materials to create passive, sustainable, and often off-grid dwellings. Here, with Luigi Rosselli Architects’ Earth-Ship, that concept of adaptive reuse and connection to the environment is extended with the revitalization of an existing home whose original design was akin to that of a drilling platform, hovering above and entirely disconnected from its craggy and precipitous surroundings.
Luigi Rosselli has never much been a fan of ‘pole houses,’ constructed with the intention of admiring the view from above while denying contact and symbiosis with the natural habitat the house occupies. As such, the aim with Earthship was to bring the existing two stories of the house down to earth by adding a further two stories below them to create a direct link to the garden.
Visitors to Earth-Ship approach from above, negotiating a steep driveway to reach a level, landscaped courtyard, an intentional resting place in contrast to the steep hill the home occupies. From there, the formation of the rammed earth walls, constructed in a warm and welcoming color reminiscent of the external walls of the famous Casa Malaparte villa – a magnificent example of an earthed structure to be found nestled amidst dramatic limestone cliffs on the island of Capri – guide guests to the front entry porch of the house.
Once inside, the visitor meets with a linear stair cascading down to the house’s different levels. Above the stair is a deep void capped with a large skylight allowing natural light to flow through each story. The descent is easy and comfortable and leads first to the main living-dining-kitchen area and then on again to the lower floors, which house a guest bedroom, a sunroom, and a gym.
Each floor has a generous balcony, a succession of nautical-inspired tiered terrace decks, and their ship-like appearance softened by tall trees and vegetation. This nautical appearance is not as pronounced as that of the Cottage Point house, Luigi Rosselli Architect’s first major project, designed and built towards the end of the 1980s, which was described as Noah’s Ark moored on the slopes of Mount Ararat. As its name suggests, Earth-Ship is more earthy than its predecessor’s nautical inspiration.
In its realization, Earth-Ship successfully combines the tenacity of Project Architect Nicola Ghirardi, the interior design flair of Romaine Alwill, and the landscaping excellence of Will Dangar to produce a home of warmth and comfort for those who inhabit it.
Earth-Ship House Plans
Earth-Ship House Image Gallery
About Luigi Rosselli Architects
Luigi Rosselli Architects is an architecture firm based in Sydney, Australia. The firm was founded by Luigi Rosselli, a prominent Australian architect known for his unique design style that blends contemporary elements with traditional techniques and materials. The firm specializes in residential and commercial architecture, focusing on sustainability, innovation, and functionality. The team at Luigi Rosselli Architects includes experienced architects, designers, and project managers who work together to create beautiful and functional spaces that meet the needs of their clients.
- Interior Designer: Romaine Alwill for Alwill Interiors Pty Ltd
- Builder: TC Build
- Rammed Earth Construction: Earth Dwellings Australia
- Joiner: Corelli Joinery
- Landscape Architect: Will Dangar for Dangar Barin Smith
- Tiled Pool Mural: L.A.R.T (Luigi & Adriano Rosselli Tiles)
- Stone Benchtops and Wall Slabs: Granite & Marble Works