Situated in Sidney, Australia, this beautiful home overlooking the Syndey harbor and iconic Anzac Bridge has been designed to serve the living needs of a young couple. In designing it, the architecture & design practice Fox Johnston had to deal with a small 241-square metre north facing site, which led to some architectural constraints requiring particularly sensitive handling of height, volumes, overshadowing to maintain neighbours’ sunlight, views and privacy.
With the objective to create simple, functional, private, generous and luminous spaces in such a tiny urban cottage, the architects make use of various design techniques to maximum advantage every single part of the dwelling, while incorporating a natural and often recycled material palette. The illusion of a bigger space is created by realizing a dialogue between indoors and outdoors, so each interior or exterior area take space from one another maximizing volume, light and air. Many large openings allow natural ventilation and plenty of daylighting contributing to the illusion of a larger home. The natural ventilation system is delivered in the new house, using a temperature controlled extractor fan over the central void.
This void also has large sashless windows that enable all the heat to be quickly expelled from the house on hot summer evenings. All natural and sustainable materials were used in construction and for the interior finishings. The Balmain House was intelligently designed to ensure also the family’s privacy and to fit in the tiny allocated space, but without compromising the privacy of the multiple surrounding neighbours.
The material palette used is simple, natural and textural with sustainability and reducing energy usage key considerations, resulting in an exquisite modern home. The main bedroom, ensuite, library/gallery and study are situated within the sculpted, faceted timber volume which seems to float above the ground. All the upstairs spaces retain sunshine and neighbouring views, while ensure views to garden vistas and the surrounding harbour and Anzac Bridge views. The energy-efficient home is heated hydronically, having in this way a small energy footprint.
Photos © Brett Boardman
Architects: Fox Johnston
Location: Sydney NSW, Australia
Area: 360 sqm
Builder: Owner Builder
Structural Engineer: Partridge & Partners
Planner: Warren Long
Hydraulic Engineer: ITM