When I first discussed this project with my client it appeared that we had a number of things in common, but most significantly we shared a passion for her childhood home designed in the early 1970’s by the architect Peter Muller. I visited this house briefly prior to it being sold and found a great love of art and decoration embodied in the furniture and fittings. It was clear from the start that any new home would include the integration of some these items.
My client’s also loved the site of their own home in Vaucluse. High up on Sydney’s South Head overlooking the Harbour and close to Francis Greenway’s Macquarie Lighthouse. This is where they had brought up their children and this was the place they wished to build a new home. The existing house made little use of the corner block’s potential with it’s long northerly aspect and views of the Harbour, the City and the distant Blue Mountains in the west.
The early conceptual work and sketches focused on the exploration of the site and its location, teasing out its history and its topology and making clear the significance and potential it embodied and the fact that this site is on the edge of a continent, exposed as it is to extremes of weather and climate and is positioned as something of a link between the city and the endless horizon of the Pacific.
Conceptually the building is a pavilion-like house with its long axis running east west thus giving ample opportunity for light and winter sun to penetrate the interiors and to maximize the potentially iconic views. With an emphasis on the horizontal the house emerges from the sandstone site as it falls away to the west. The basement level excavated into the bedrock, contains the garage, guest and entertainment spaces, a large water tank (22,000L), and the plant and equipment rooms.
The main living level of the house is largely a combination of masonry and glass giving the building a physical mass while carefully framing and connecting the interior to both the intimate and longer views and aspects.
The bedroom level above is built in a reverse brick veneer and while affording excellent thermal properties, is expressed as a lighter and highly detail timber facade. The elegant roof-line floats above the whole ensemble and ultimately connects the house visually to the two primary east and west horizons while also giving the house protection from the elements. This the house gets its visual order by becoming lighter and more refined in detail as it gets higher.
It is a highly detailed house with great emphasis placed on how the different materials are put together . We take a long- term view of how the building will weather and settle into its site and context and the house would not have been possible without a close and cooperative relationship with the builder Horizon Habitats who did an excellent job in translating our architectural aims into built form. See there excellent video of the project on at this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHB7tRUW9x0&sns=fb
Winner 2012 MBA Excellence in Housing Awards Contract Houses $3-5M