chris elliott architects: seacliff house chris elliott architects: seacliff house
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

  • bravo

    an architect that has the integrity to show windows with the drapery in place

    dbkii says:
  • Very nice. It reminds me the Malaparte\’s House. 🙂

    Sandra says:
  • I just love Australian Architects.

    Mawdster says:
  • Me encantan las reminiscencias de la cerámica de Gustavo Perez en el exterior. Gran trabajo!

    Rodrygo says:
  • Walked past this last summer and thought it looked great.

    Neville says:
  • Great hpuse. Wish I lived there!

    Penelope says:
  • Well done, Chris, the house is a credit to you.

    Michael 7/6/2012

    michael Regnis says:
  • A remarkable piece of challenging almost seditious architecture…keep expanding the aesthetic horizons Chris…great work..

    St Alfonzo says:
  • Amazing design, love the flow……and with the use of recycled material, just simply WOW

    Walid says:
  • There are some more photos here:

    As soon as you walk in there is a feeling of peace, calm and simplicity.

    Sit in the lounge room with a cup of tea and stare out over the ocean, with the waves crashing on the rocks below and you might see some whales.

    The lounge room is a beautiful place to sit, you never want to get up, just sit and look out.

    Frances Jones says:
  • A beautiful home that looks amazing, and feels good to be in.

    Kerry Little says:
  • Very flash Chris. I LOVE the view from the master bedroom. The indoor pool is a trifle smaller than I had imagined… Overall – WOW factor is huge. btw: Do guests sleep in one of those mini ‘nooks’? Regardless, pls put me on the waiting list. Congratulations surfie boy!
    xxx Kiwi Kate

    Kate says:
  • Chris the place is just stunning, the dynamic aspect of the house is amplified by the way you have treated the edges and the passages. Rather that being locked into a passage one feels that the space of intrigue is on the edge of the house where the boundary between light and space of the interior and exterior and all at play.

    All the best,


    Robert Barnstone says:

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