Detailed ceilings as a pattern against rolling verdant hills

The celebration of a ceiling as a Pattern.


The effect of the ceiling height is not direct;
there is instead a complex interaction between people & space, in which people read the different ceiling heights in a building as messages,
and take up positions according to these messages.
— Ceiling Height Variety, chapter 190, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander
 

Located in one of the most picturesque spots imaginable,

the kind with rolling hills dotted with rounded Eucalyptus trees, 

with rich soil, good rainfall & a maritime-kissed breezes,

Main Ridge on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula 

is one of those places which elicits a glazed-over expression

when mentioned to the city folk of Melbourne. 

 

So here then, is the chance to dream,

for a moment,

of owning a home which not only resides in such a beautiful location,

but which is, of itself, quite beautiful,

with its fabulously patterned cathedral ceilings,

all the better to frame the view out to the vineyards & gum trees.

 

 

The house is clad - both on wall and roof - with Colorbond,

as a contrast to the black-painted Cedar barn doors and black windows.

Internally, walls are white and floors are limed French Oak,

but it's those ceilings which have garnered my attention.

 
 

Ceiling height can be used to create movement,

or lack of, in a space, as we tend to naturally move towards spaces

with higher ceilings if they are visible from where one is standing 

in a lower ceilinged space. 

(A clever trick used to perfection in the design of

the Grand Central Station in NYC as a means of shepherding large

numbers of people quickly through the terminal.)

But when a space has a multitude of heights,

as in this kitchen for example,

it also creates a sense of dynamic movement,

with a combination of cosy and uplifting moods

created by the different heights.

Additionally, the human eye loves to follow a line,

so as the rafters are expressed 

(rather than clad over),

the eye naturally follows the rafter up to the ridge beam,

which creates a sense of generosity with its height. 

Which is all rather clever, 

as the median height of the room is not actually that high.

 

Imagine if there were a flat ceiling dropped in below the rafters instead.

It wouldn't be half as interesting or cosy a space.

Now there are times when a flat ceiling is a wonderful solution,

but even in such a case, I will always suggest that a variation of height

between spaces can be a very powerful (and clever) tool to create emotion

and atmosphere. 

Of course, it's not just the ceiling height which can be used this way -

it can also be the actual pattern which the ceiling has which can utilise this 

philosophy - as in this case with the expressed rafters 

creating an additional pattern on the angled ceiling shapes.

Pattern on pattern, if you will. 

 


In some fashion, low ceilings make for intimacy,
and high ceilings make for formality... In buildings (with) standard components, it is very hard to make the ceiling height vary from room to room, so it tends to be forgotten.

And people are willing to let it go, because they have forgotten what an important psychological reason there is for making the heights vary.
— Ceiling Height Variety, chapter 190, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander

 

In the same way that the generosity of the steps

acts like an invitation to come hither,

a generosity of ceiling heights can draw one into a space. 

It's nice to see a residential building which talks the same language 

internally and externally, as this one does. 

I think it would be a rather interesting home to live in.

Would you love to live here?