Point Piper Boathouse by Andrew Burges Architects

Part of a larger multiresidential project, this boathouse provides a direct yet elegant connection to Seven Shillings Beach.

Like the dot at the bottom of an exclamation mark, this boathouse by Andrew Burges finishes off a two-apartment development on Seven Shillings Beach. But it also sits discretely as a building in its own right. The project is, figuratively at least, a boathouse, though it is very much a space for people rather than boats – a civil response that claims the waterfront back for people to use and enjoy. It isn’t a pavilion like the neighbouring boathouses that dot the bay, it is more a part of the landscape – a sophisticated cave that hasn’t been so much built as carved out of the sandstone.

A day bed is carved out of the stone wall, allowing appreciation of the view of the bay via a vertical slot window.

A day bed is carved out of the stone wall, allowing appreciation of the view of the bay via a vertical slot window.

Image: Ross Honeysett

A triumvirate of concrete, timber and limestone lines the interior of the boatshed. The plan is a basic rectangle – close to square. A daybed sits off to the side with a calibrated slot window that sets the eye off down towards the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It would have been a temptation to focus the entire boathouse towards this direction, but Burges shows a deft hand in assembling the parts of this space: the boathouse itself is very much something you find, and the different views from it are treated in the same way. A case in point here is how the vertical elements of timber screens are organized at varied angles to open up different aspects across Double Bay, up to Clark Island and beyond to the CBD, depending on where you are located in the space.

Again, the cave metaphor springs to mind in the bathroom space as a sliver of light creeps down the face of a five-metre-high light shaft that could have been weathered out of the cliff itself. Returning back into the main space you notice the exposed concrete soffit, which folds up at the rear of the volume before it meets the wall to create an alcove for lighting. This also blurs the edge of the space in a way that defies the substance of the material palette that is on show.

Materially, there is no doubt the project collects and assembles its elements elegantly; however, the true beauty of the boathouse is in its section. As high as it is deep, it is this element of the design that, despite its diminutive size in plan, enables the boatshed to exude a feeling of relaxed generosity – a worthy outcome for a project of any size.

Products and materials

In situ concrete.
External walls
100 mm Random sandstone; in situ concrete wall with rough-sawn oregon formwork finish.
Internal walls
Artedomus Isernia limestone, sandblasted, and Aretusa Light, gritblasted.
Windows and doors
Artarmon Joinery rosewood timber door frames and screens, Woodmans Cladcoat.
Australian Architectural Hardwood recycled grey ironbark flooring, Synteko natural oil.
Arne Jacobsen AJ wall light.
Honed black granite benchtop; American Walnut timber veneer joinery; Liebherr underbench fridge; Miele Combi oven.
Rogerseller Subway wall-hung toilet, Soho Round Cafe shower rose and Tonic Motion shower mixer; Candana Boyd Alternatives copper basin.


Andrew Burges Architects
Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Andrew Burges, Jeremy Bull, Celia Carroll, Louise Lovmand, Cameron Donald, Joanna Butler
Builder ANT Building
Engineer Meinhardt Group
Joinery Glen Ryan & Associates
Landscaping Dangar Group
Site details
Location Seven Shillings Beach,  Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Number of stories 2
Site type Suburban
Site area 500 m2
Building area 61 m2
Category Residential buildings
Type Houses, Residential
Project Details
Status Built
Design, documentation 5 months
Construction 24 months



Published online: 8 Mar 2012
Words: David Welsh
Images: Ross Honeysett


Houses, December 2011

Related topics

More projects

See all
From the spiral stairs to elongated voids, each element is integral to the home’s functionality and the design intent. Elastic geometry: Glebe House

Crafted with deference to the sculptural potential of architecture, this compact family home by Chenchow Little with “elastic” geometry is a lesson in tectonic editing.

The upper level of the bridge has been converted into green space, with snaking beds of plants. Fixed binoculars give visitors the opportunity to look out onto busy Lonsdale Street. Pattern is king: Melbourne Central Arcade

Melbourne architecture practice Kennedy Nolan has revitalized the public arcades of Melbourne Central, strengthening the centre’s character and heightening the user experience.

Colour has been used to differentiate the spaces and to elevate the interiors through playful but complementary colour schemes. Flying colours: Giraffe Early Learning Centre

In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, architecture studio Supercontext has restored and reused a heritage substation, converting it into a place for children to play and learn.

Each of Arc’s four facades matches the height and rhythm of neighbouring elevations, showing deference to its context. Tall towers amid brick warehouses: Arc

Demonstrating careful consideration of its heritage surrounds and with a mix of uses throughout, this finely detailed skyscraper by Koichi Takada Architects advances the social …

Most read

Latest on site