Whale Beach NSW
This hilltop site with iconic ocean, headland and treetop views in all directions was clearly unique. The bones of the existing horseshoe shaped mid century italianate villa were sound, but to meet the brief for a flexible family home accommodating between 2 and 10 people at any time, a trusting client and some clever design was required.
A genuinely collaborative design process produced a design centred on reclaiming the ground floor living space from an overtly grand staircase. Circulation was organised by adding a new glass and zinc clad entry and stair element which also provides a clear address for the house. A new master suite occupies the top floor, opening onto a generous balcony with forever views across the Pacific.
The brief for this project evolved from a simple first floor extension to a full house renovation as our client’s circumstances changed. Our wholistic approach to this fluid design process allowed us to promote design opportunities outside the brief. Resolving fundamental space planning problems with the existing house also provided unexpected external living, daylighting and view capture benefits.
Construction of the home was completed in 2017.
The design of this house has evolved in response to our quest to find balance between immersion in the incredible beauty of its location, and the creation of a private and serene haven protected from extreme coastal weather, constant traffic and a steady stream of coast walk pilgrims.
Our brief was for a house that would adapt to suit the needs of a growing family and provide separate accommodation for extended family and friends. The design was to be timeless, deferring to the spectacular beauty of its place rather than trying to dominate it. Also fundamental to a successful result for our client were the project goals of embodying the best of sustainable building methodologies, and futureproofing the house through implementation of the most current digital technology.
Acknowledging the obvious natural beauty of the place, the risk for us was that the house would become a ‘one liner’, greedily grabbing at as much view and floorspace as possible. Instead, we have focused on the experience of the house as a series of moments aside from the view; from the moody secret cellar deep in the basement, through daylight washing across the upper floor surfaces through strips of low level glazing, to the wet edge pool wall lit at night terminating the vista through the house.
On a good day, the experience of this site from sunrise to sunset is mesmerising. But conversely, the southerly coastal weather can be brutal, with big seas and strong winds dousing the site in highly corrosive salt spray. With longevity in mind, all structural and enclosure elements have been selected from those with a proven maritime pedigree. Above the sandstone base, therefore, reclaimed hardwood sits alongside high performance glazing units and hi-tech composite fibre roof panels. There is no exposed steel, and virtually no paint.
The three storey house sits above the street on a sandstone clad podium, and is anchored by a beautifully textured off form concrete blade along the northern boundary. Aside from blinkering the house from the neighbours, all services and vertical circulation elements are located along this edge. This has the effect of the rest of the house seeming transparent, and allows living spaces to fold around the core of the house and take best advantage of the outlook which stretches from the MacKenzies Point to the northeast around to Bronte Baths to the South.
These living spaces are flanked by a large terrace to the east and a pool courtyard which extends the family living space inward. Privacy and protection to this court are provided by the bulk of the guest suite which is located on the site’s western boundary. A layered façade of glazing and operable screening blurs the facade line, inviting connection with the sunshine, breeze and beautiful views. But the same façade also battens down for privacy and protection from the elements. The interior of this level is characterised by the grain and patina of natural timber, stone and concrete finishes, and a palette of soft aquatic blues and greens.
The bedroom level, where three bedrooms are arranged around a skylit stair, is characterised by natural daylight and crisp white finishes. Above these rooms floats a single plane fibreglass and carbon fibre roof which tapers to an impossibly thin edge.
When architecture is defined by the clarity of simple ideas executed perfectly, success lies in mutually respectful collaboration between the owner and their project manager, a passionate architect, experienced structure and services experts, a skilled and patient builder, and dedicated and skilled trades staff. This house is a rare example of what can happen when that formidable team is presented with an opportunity such as this.
Allambie Heights NSW
Northen Beaches renovation
The design of this project is a result of true collaboration between client and architect. From the very first dining table discussions over our initial scribbles, the clients were actively involved in design decisions from the overall arrangement of the site to the detailed resolution of joinery and internal finishes.
The layout of spaces in the house is focused on the provision of refined, crisp, loose fit living spaces that have the capacity to adapt to the changing needs of the growing family for a long time to come.
The design reflects the clients strong connection with the Australian desire to live on the verandah, alongside a love of natural day lighting and connection with the bushland reserve adjacent. This has resulted in blurred edges between the interior and exterior living spaces, expressed through bifolding glass walls, banks of louvre windows, and many skylit openings in the roof.
The house also celebrates high quality design and craftsmanship, evidenced by the beautifully crafted internal stair joinery, insitu polished concrete benchtops, a handmade hardwood slab outdoor dining table and hand laid stone garden walls.
The result is a truly unique home with a strong sense of its place along an urban bushland fringe, infused with the passion and personality of the owners in every room.
Little Bay NSW
Completed – 2013
Our brief for this project was to modify and complete the architectural and interior design of a partially constructed house designed by others.
Our brave client purchased the site with the structure and enclosure work mostly complete, but with fundamental space planning issues remaining unresolved. BMA were able to identify design opportunities that better connected the house with its spectacular environment, working within the constraints of the existing construction to rescue and complete the design.
The completed design celebrates the way Australians live, focusing on generous daylight, fresh air, blurred boundaries between inside and outside living spaces, and materials that weather quietly into the landscape.
BMA worked closely with consultants, authorities, the builder and our client to navigate a path through a complex approval and certification process, delivering a timeless and contemporary sanctuary for our client to enjoy.
Stanmore courtyard house
Inner West renovation
Our brief for this Inner West alterations project was for a first floor addition and ground floor living space improvements for a growing family. The site is in a heritage conservation area with a predominantly single storey streetscape, and the land falls away to the south at the rear of the property where an existing garage addresses a rear lane.
Our design strategy focused on wrapping the living, dining room and kitchen spaces around a new courtyard, optimising daylight access to the south facing living room and including the courtyard as an extension of the living space. A new cantilevered playroom hovers over the courtyard providing weather protection to the operable living room facade. This dramatic element is part of the first floor addition, the remeinder of which is built within the existing roofline, so the house presents as a single storey heritage facade to the street.
A palette of rough sawn timber, metal cladding and structural steel characterises the external expression of the house, referencing the industrial heritage of the area. And, we really enjoyed seeing the owners add their own personality to the project through the selection of interior colours, finishes and furnishings.
Alterations to Bronte Terrace.
BMA was engaged to refine and develop an approved design for alterations to a small semi detached house in Bronte. While the front of the house remains predominantly intact, a new split level kitchen, dining and living pavilion opens onto a courtyard and plunge pool, completely transforming the home.
Our design strategy to lower the living room floor level promoted seamless connection with the rear plunge pool courtyard, and created a beautifully daylit living space with generous ceiling height. Smart joinery design defined the transition between living and dining spaces.
Once the amended design had been approved by Council, BMA completed the project documentation, and then administered the building contract on behalf of our client. Construction was completed in 2015.
Prompted by the site conditions, this project was quickly named ‘Mt Coogee’, as it rises 26 metres from the street boundary to the back fence. Our brief on this challenging site was for a new five bedroom home to be delivered within a very short design and construction programme of 15 months. With this in mind, BMA suggested testing the potential for a house designed under private certification (CDC), avoiding the slow and uncertain DA process through local council.
Close collaboration with both the preferred builder and certifier during the early design stages gave our client confidence to maintain momentum on the project, resulting in planning and construction approvals being in place within four months.
The house consists of a masonry base supporting steel framed, lightweight clad elements above. Five floor levels follow the contours of the site, and are cleverly stepped so that the house is never more than two storeys high at any point. At the heart of the house, the blurred edges of the living, dining and kitchen spaces are wrapped around a private, sundrenched pool courtyard. The top storey consists of a guest and master suite, where a fully glazed facade allows the drama of the landscaped cliff face behind to be enjoyed in complete privacy.
The success of this project lies in our commitment to a positive and rigorous interrogation and application of the CDC controls to arrive at a unique and uncompromised design solution that could be delivered within the required timeframe.