Surfside House

Surfside House

Andrew Burges Architects
Sydney, NSW, Australia | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Peter Bennetts

Surfside House

Andrew Burges Architects as Architects

Surfside House is situated within a varied streetscape of semi-detached dwellings and apartment buildings on the Clovelly ridgeline.  Our initial brief was to modify the existing 1930s semi to create an expanded ground level living area, with an upper level housing 2 new bedrooms – creating a 3 bedroom house with study.


Conceptual Framework
The house was conceived as a climb up the hill of the ridgeline. The program was positioned as a series of platforms that gradually climb out of the containment of the coastal banksia vegetation, positioning the upper platforms above the tree line with a striking view of Clovelly and the coastline and horizon looking south and east.

Key to this concept was the design of the stair as both the pivotal organising element of the plan and a connector to landscape within the tree line as well as outlooks above the vegetation. On the ground level the stair is central in the creation of a compact pin wheel plan, creating a light filled ‘public’ area with a clearly legible path to the upper level living area. 

As the stair climbs to the upper platforms, its combines with an over scaled window facing south and east to strikingly reveal the expanse of the view of the southern coastline beyond. A second platform 3 steps above the living platform houses the kitchen and dining areas, with the opening to the north carefully controlled to capture sun and a view to an olive tree while minimising sight lines to the apartment buildings behind.


Generative in the initial brief development was a detailed massing study of DA vs. CDC controls applied to the site, which revealed substantially different possibilities for the house according to which approval process was followed. Out of this process an alternate resolution of the brief was proposed – with a compact living area on a new upper level and 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a laundry and a study arranged in a re-configured lower level. This was transformative in creating a house with extensive coastal views, northern sun, and natural light and ventilation. 


The renovated semi-detached dwelling establishes a new typology for the row of dwellings of which it is a part. Introducing living areas to the upper level, a large setback from the common wall establishes a more clearly articulated vertical form that retains the clear reading of separate semi-detached dwellings. The material character retains the painted brick of the existing lower level, with a soft grey timber of cladding and screens defining the upper level addition. The roof form creates a half pyramidal form creating volume over the steeping upper levels while minimising the mass of the addition.    


Programmatic Resolution
Reconceiving the clients brief through our CDC envelope analysis was transformational to the program resolution. Initially our clients assumed they would require the living areas on the lower level with filtered views into the street and landscape. However though our detailed envelope massing studies and compact planning we were able to achieve an upper living level with expansive views over Clovelly and down the south coast. On the lower level the bedrooms playfully capitalised on the available floor to ceiling height to create elevated sleeping nooks that define the kids bedrooms more as play areas that as traditional bedroom.


Integration of Allied Principles
Integral to the success of the project was a very productive collaboration with the builders, Robert Plumb Build. As well as a common focus on achieving the design intent they provided prototypes of key elements such as the sliding screens.


Cost Value Outcomes
The house was a very successful renovation in terms of a cost value outcome, completely transforming the real estate proposition by providing a house with living areas enjoying significantly increased light and expansive views of the coast within a compact and carefully detailed architectural design.


Material Used :
Lysaght Custom Orb in Colorbond ‘Shale Grey’ 

External walls: 
Painted brick commons in Dulux ‘Natural White’; Australian Architectural Hardwoods Pre Aged Grey Karri boards; existing rendered walls in Dulux ‘Green Ash’

Internal walls: 
Painted brick commons in Dulux ‘Natural White’; Easycraft Easy VJ in Dulux ‘Natural White’; EurosetProyalbiFino plaster with clear sealer 

Windows and Doors: 
A&G Fabrications black anodised aluminium; custom Victorian ash timber doors by Stockwells Joinery in Intergrain Nature’s Timber Oil 

Tongue n Groove Eterno Piccolo floorboards in ‘Bistre’ 

Igguzzini View Opti Linear; Rakumba Highline by Archier; Gubi Semi pendant; Anchor Ceramics Potter Light and Potter Halo; Muuto Ambit pendant and E27 pendant; Flos Mini Glo-Ball 

Miele fridge, freezer and oven; Asko dishwasher; Pitt Drum cooktop; CondariQasair range¬hood; Blanco subline sink in ‘Anthracite’; Brodware City Stik Kitchen Mixer in ‘Weathered Brass Organic’; ArtedomusArtetech benchtops in ‘Terra Nero’; custom European oak veneer joinery with white oil finish by Intermic

Brodware City Stik tapware in ‘Weathered Brass Organic’; Studio Bagno Shard basin; Duravit Me by Stark toilet; Montauk Black slate floor tiles and Manual Blanco wall tiles from Bisanna

Heating and cooling:
Skantherm Shaker slow combustion wood heater from Oblica; Big Ass Fans Haiku ceiling fan 

External elements:
Timber decking by Robert Plumb Build; custom steel pergola and balustrades by Alsop Steel 

Custom timber battened sliding screen, American oak stair balustrade and window seat by Cranbrook Workshop

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