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Seacliff House, Sydney, Australia

Thursday 29 Nov 2012

Surfers' home celebrates sandstone and selective sea views

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Award Entry

An iconic house overlooking the Pacific Ocean 

The client, a family of surfers, bought a narrow, 250 sq m exposed site near a favourite surf beach. The brief required a house that accommodated a family of four and guests which engaged with and complemented the surrounding environment, maintained privacy, and induced a sense of wonder and fun.

Daily life occurs on a transparent platform overlooking the sea. Visually, nature is welcomed in: the fenestration and screening alternatives allow for the beautiful sea views to be enjoyed while maintaining privacy from people on a nearby coastal walk. Above this is a long linear box, a protective cocoon for sleeping and working. The surface of the box is enlivened with series of unique curvilinear light scoops. These allow light in and offer selective views out, such as a view of the sky when lying in the bath.

Underground, the sandstone bedrock is carved out to form a watery grotto including a swimming pool, a bridged shallow reflecting pool and outside bath and shower. Sometimes strong shafts of light penetrate the spaces, as through rock fissures in a cave. At other times, when light levels are low, strong colours help to create warmth and atmosphere. It is unexpected, dramatic and definitely fun. Adjacent to this, a home cinema doubles as visitor accommodation.

A belvedere sits at roof level where a study opens onto a small deck. Here, at the end of the journey you are rewarded with a panoramic ocean outlook. A private sundeck with built in timber seating and a fireplace provides a comfortable place to contemplate the ocean and the stars at night. Seacliff House is an elongated white form on a sandstone base, its planted roof mirroring the adjacent cliffs as well as the sculptural forms in the nearby graveyard. Sandstone - the signature stone of Sydney - is celebrated in this house.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value Undisclosed(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Chris Elliott Architects

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