Nestled in a serene waterfront location just north of the Sydney CBD, Northbridge is a modern house that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding landscape and topography of its site. Working with the challenge of a sloped, narrow block and existing elements, including a natural watercourse, rocky outcrops and mature tree ferns, became crucial to the design of the home.
To work around the decline of the terrain, the modern house is made of varying levels that cascade towards the water. Accessed via an external bridge that looks down over a courtyard, the top floor of the residence features a central staircase with a lounge room to one side and a dining and kitchen area to the other – both spaces open to an expansive balcony with breathtaking north-eastern views.
The level below the entry houses the bedrooms, which dial around the central staircase – two of which face towards the views with an outlook that engages the tops of the tree ferns. The lowest living area of the house links directly to the garden, enabling a beautiful intimacy with the landscape to enter into the modern house.
In this sense, the garden and surrounding views are central to the home’s design. Structurally, the central staircase provides a sense of circulation and symmetry. From this vertical atrium, there are sweeping horizontal and vertical views through to the garden and down to the water beyond.
Behind the living room is a tranquil courtyard that offers shelter from the wind, as well as a pool that leads to another garden continuing down to the harbour. Down there the cube-shaped house can be seen from a different perspective – glimpsed through a curtilage of an enchanted garden of tree ferns, palms and curved sandstone walls.
The materiality and interior palette of the modern house also responds to the landscape. The merit of the site’s location means that it is exposed to the elements of the harbour, including sea spray and harsh weather. As such, concrete is used for its durability – most of the home built from off-form concrete for its beautiful finish.
The interior palette is dominated by soft hues and clean lines that echo the serene harbourside location of the home. Statement pieces add an element of luxury – a pendant light in the double-height living space made from brass with warm LEDs radiates a warm light and striking ambience.
Tobias Partners has created a considered modern house that responds to its waterfront location and unique site. The end result is a home that feels unequivocally peaceful despite its close proximity to the city.
00:00 – Intro to the Waterfront Modern House
00:33 – The Serene Location
00:58 – A Walkthrough of the Home
01:29 – Separation by Stairs
02:08 – Key Interior Features
02:48 – The Intimacy of the Lower Level
03:31 – A Focus on the Exterior Landscape Architecture
04:13 – Considerations of Designing Waterfront Houses
05:05 – The Rewarding Aspects
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Photography by Anson Smart.
Architecture and Interior Design by Tobias Partners.
Build by Pacific Plus Constructions.
Styling by Tobias Partners.
Landscape by Myles Baldwin.
Landscape Construction by The Professional Landscapers.
Engineering by Partridge.
Joinery by Square Peg Woodworks.
Client Representation by I’ve Got Time.
Videography by Dan Preston.
Production by The Local Project.
The Local Project acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the land in Australia. We recognise the importance of Indigenous peoples in the identity of our country and continuing connections to Country and community. We pay our respect to Elders, past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous people of these lands.
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