Our clients wanted to build their dream house; a house that would be their definitive family home. It had to have an urban presence, while having an open yet secure exterior space with sufficient privacy from the street. With a no expense to be spared mandate, the architect was given a large wish-list that included a 6-car garage and a 25m long pool.
The elevated plot sits 4m above the street level and is surrounded by dense residential development. The eventual solution comes from a reconciliation of inherent constraints with opportunities embedded within the site and program. A visually heavy base platform is expressed by slate covered terraced planters. Two distinct cantilevered volumes form the visible massing and embracing wings of the house which are pushed to the urban set-back limits of the site. The separated volumes are connected by a central circulation core. A three-sided courtyard is formed from the residual space between the volumes. A glass lift and see-through staircase that winds around the transparent shaft vertically connect the various programmatic elements. The exterior facade is cladded in beige & silver travertine, and contrasted with black basalt stone. Horizontal aluminium fins provide sun shading and provide a modicum of privacy from the street and the adjacent properties.
The experience on entry into the subterraneous garage is private and cocooned from the exterior. The stone and materials within the garage are cave-like but the procession to the main entrance further in reveals textural changes in the architectural finishes, revealing smooth honed travertine walls and floors. The entrance foyer lead to a walk-in wine cellar and a large entertainment cum games room. Naturally, the entrance also leads one upwards to the next level, and the views expand outwards and upwards, but are focussed on the single Frangipani tree floating in the central courtyard. A vital role of this floating planter in the middle of the swimming pool is that is also allows daylight and natural ventilation to the basement garage below.
The main living, and dining areas are on this first storey level. Below are the garage and the entertainment den, where family and friends come together. The second storey houses all the bedrooms and a private study. The top floor has an accessible roof deck and garden, providing a boundless, alfresco space that overlooks the surrounding neighbourhood and has views toward the city in the distance.