chris elliott architects: seacliff house
original content
jun 06, 2012
chris elliott architects: seacliff house


‘seacliff house’ by chris elliott architects, sydney, australia
image © richard glover

sydney-based chris elliott architects have completed ‘seacliff house’, a single family dwelling located in sydney, australia.
situated on a long and narrow sliver of land that was leftover from the original subdivision. the area enjoys spectacular views over the ocean,
the adjacent park, sandstone cliffs and headland to the south, designing with the peculiarities of the site rather than struggle against them.

the ground floor is a long transparent platform where nature is welcomed in
and not excluded. it is ordered by a series of columns and defined by
solid walls.
glass runs along, around and above the rigid elements, curving and weaving to provide various lookout points around the perimeter.
while large sliding and pivoting transparent doors open to the outside.


situated on a cliff
image © richard glover

a compact solid core provides stability to the structure which contains
a staircase, bathroom, fridge, cupboards and pantry with minimal visual
obstruction
to the interior space. the sandstone foundation is carved away to showcase a grotto which combines water, rock and
light. 
in various places the material is left to extrude into the room
connecting the house to the core of the base. in the basement water occurs at various
levels:
a pond, a shallow reflecting pool with bridge and an outdoor bath.
strong shafts of light penetrate the zone, while the sharp colors help
to create
a warm atmosphere when the illumination is low.


terrace
image © richard glover

the bedroom level, is a protective cocoon, providing comfort and privacy with glimpses to the landscape through a variety of openings
and layers of opaque curtains. the exterior surface is enlivened with a series of curvilinear scoops to allow light in and offer selective views out.
on the roof a belvedere opens onto a small sundeck with built-in timber seating and a fireplace to provide a panoramic outlook over the ocean.

the residence optimizes environmental and sustainable design features as the roof is covered with foliage and solar PV panels.
water is also collected from the upper level and stored in a tank below the garage. the house takes advantage of the sea breezes,
thermal mass and the combination of double layer curtains to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
the material used to construct the flooring, stairs and joinery come from recycled spotted gum, golden sassafras and ironback planks.
brass hardware is used and is allowed to tarnish naturally throughout the dwelling.


extruding facade
image © richard glover


window detail
image © richard glover


panoramic view of the ocean
image © richard glover


image © richard glover


pivoting glass doors
image © richard glover


interior living space with opaque curtains
image © richard glover


image © richard glover


narrow passage to grotto
image © richard glover


sleeping nook
image © richard glover


interior pool
image © richard glover


(left) spiraling staircase
(right) millwork detail
image © richard glover


(left) opening with view to ocean from master ensuite
(right) skylight
image © richard glover


master bedroom
image © richard glover


(left) detail of sandstone carved into the space
(right) entrance to sundeck
image © richard glover


sundeck with built-in seating
image © richard glover


plans
image © chris elliott architects


sketches
image © chris elliott architects


sketches
image © chris elliott architects


sketch of grotto
image © chris elliott architects


initial concept sketch
image © chris elliott architects

project info:

architect: chris elliott architects
builder: hodge wright constructions
structural engineer: o’hearn consulting
hydraulic engineer: buckton lysenko
landscape architects: terragram
photography: richard glover

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