Seacliff House
Thursday 13 Jun 2013


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Everyday life occurs on a platform overlooking the sea. Beneath this the rock is carved out to form a grotto. Above the platform is a protective cocoon for sleeping.

Astride all this at roof level sits a belvedere accessible only via a narrow curved stair, as in a Martello tower.

The ground floor is essentially a transparent platform, which engages with the surroundings. The space is ordered by a series of columns and defined by solid walls only where necessary. Large sliding and pivoting glass doors open to outside.

The basement level is conceived as a watery grotto. The sandstone is carved away to create space. This connects in an intimate way the house to the very essence of Sydney – its sandstone base. Water occurs at various levels – a pool, a shallow reflecting pool with a bridge and an outside bath. At times 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.

The bedroom level, conceptually a protective cocoon, is a long linear box. It provides comfort and privacy with glimpses out through a variety of openings. The surface of the box is enlivened with series of curvilinear light scoops. These allow light in and offer selective views out, such as a view of the sky when lying in the bath.

At the roof level, conceived as a belvedere or lookout, a study opens onto a small deck. Here, at the end of the journey you are rewarded with a panoramic outlook over the ocean. A private sundeck with built in timber seating and a fireplace provides a comfortable place to contemplate the ocean and the stars at night.


Architect: Chris Elliott Architects

Builder: Hodge Wright Constructions Pty Ltd

Structural Engineer: O’Hearn Consulting Pty Ltd

Hydraulic Engineer: Buckton Lysenko Pty Ltd

Landscape Architects: Terragram Pty Ltd

Photography: Richard Glover

Chris Elliott Architects

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