Light House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture
Residential Architecture – Houses (New): National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
Crammed into a tight suburban context where all vie for that precious Sydney water view, the Light House sits understated. Here is a building with a sensual upper-storey curvature that is actually more hidden than revealed due to the density of its location. The house’s internal planning is largely rectilinear, which leaves the outdoor terraces to enjoy the unexpectedness of the curved facade and obliquely revealed coastline views.
The toughness of the house’s concrete slabs and suspended precast concrete panels is constantly balanced with attention to detail on every surface. The facade’s vertical concrete panels have a reducing chamfered bottom edge that is repeated in the adjacent timber verticals that act as glazing bars. The application of a boat deck finish to the underside of the slab for weather protection is immaculately applied around the edges of the frame and slab; the copper mesh fence is a beautiful version of the perforated screen but stiffened simply with a repeated crisp V-fold; exposed pipework in bronze and brass is installed with refinement and precision everywhere.
The siting of a circular pool at ground level, under the canopy of the bathroom concrete floor plate above, has allowed an open elliptical skylight to the pool below. The skylights in the upper-level bedroom and sitting room allow the glare of the coastal view to be screened away, and a soft indirect light, bouncing off timber, enters the room.
Light House has an understated beauty that emerges from the robustness of its materials, its calm internal planning and its craft-like attention to detailing. Unexpected opportunities have been taken to invent, surprise and delight.