In July last year, BMA were introduced to a couple who had recently purchased a site for their new home in Coogee. They quickly nicknamed the site Mt Coogee, because it rises 26m from the street boundary to the back fence.
Our brief on this challenging site was for a new 5 bedroom home, and with a very short design and construction programme of 15 months in place, we suggested testing the potential for a house designed under private certification (CDC) on the site, avoiding the potentially slow and uncertain DA process through the local Council.
While we had undertaken residential alterations under a CDC previously, we quickly learnt that a shift in our approach to new house design was required.
In the CDC approval environment, there is no flexibility, merit assessment, interpretation or negotiation regarding the application of controls. There is a box for everything, and every box needs a tick.
While site and brief analysis were still an important part of the process, our initial design response was driven by the applying strict CDC height and setback control envelopes to a digital terrain model, and then sculpting the available space within these constraints to address the brief.
As the volumes of the house evolved, other challenges including a maximum height of two storeys at any point, limited excavation depth, and floor area controls were considered and incorporated into the design.
Close collaboration with the preferred Builder and Certifier during these early design stages gave our clients confidence to maintain momentum on the project, and within four months, planning and construction approvals for the home were in place, and construction had commenced.
For BMA, 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.
Construction of the 320sqm house is now complete, consisting of a concrete and masonry base supporting steel framed and lightweight clad elements above.
Cantilevered over the street level garage and glazed entry, the first floor bedrooms address the street.
At the project's heart, the blurred edges of the living, kitchen and dining spaces are wrapped around a swimming pool courtyard.
A separate stair leads to the guest and master suites above, where the fully glazed facade allows the drama of the landscaped cliff face to be enjoyed in complete privacy.
Simon Wood Photography