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The Birdcage, Sydney, Australia

Wednesday 04 Jan 2012

No place like home...

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Award Entry

Bureau SRH Architecture create a unique family home in Sydney 

The client's family home - since dubbed The Birdcage by locals - arose from a sincere passion for the project, shared enthusiastically by both client and architect. The client sensed that the steep site, whilst difficult, had a potential to capture views of the local valley, Cooper park and beyond to Bondi. The architectural response to this slope was to divide the stratum of the building into a solid podium, transparent void and dynamic box - a simple strategy that would unfold to create a unique and intense experience for those who would be moving and living across the vertical nature of this site.

The carved Sydney sandstone podium rises at the base of the site, hewn from its surrounding natural context. The subterranean entrance is illuminated by the glow of the glass-bottomed pool above - the ramp providing a smooth transition, sloping between the masses of water and concrete which together produce a fluid texture of light. The level above reads as a transparent void, and incorporates open living, dining and bathing - enveloping the client's specific desire for a space that would enrich rather than segregate family living. The dialogue which evolves from the palate of materials achieves this demand, and the space welcomes family play to formal dining.

The topmost floor hovers on a shifted axis, turning towards the sun whilst offering a canopy of protection to living below. The level is wrapped in a brass mesh that acts as a fluid skin, allowing the client to determine the building's aesthetic, temperature and lightness. From within, the wrapping can either diffuse or frame views - while the perforations dapple light throughout the private spaces in a similar manner to the canopies of surrounding trees. At a distance, this creates the impression of a solid mass which dissolves and solidifies over the course of a day, as the screens are adjusted to varying apertures.

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Bureau SRH Architecture

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