Australian architects of MPR Design Group explore the notion of “prospect and refuge” within this contemporary family house in the Sydney suburb of Bronte. The “prospect” is the beach and coast views to the south of the site which change constantly depending on the season, weather and time of day. The “refuge” is the other desirable character for which architects created a quality of space that provides a sense of sanctuary, enclosure and comfort.
These two driving desires for the house were explored and accommodated through devising two sculpted concrete forms responding to their particular use. The forms are rounded at the edges similar to tubes which are independent of each other enabling the upper tube to twist towards the view.
The upper tube is open-ended which allows the northern winter sun to penetrate deeply into the living spaces while allowing an unimpeded outlook to the southern view. The form also provides efficient passive ventilation drawing the prevailing north-east breeze through the house.
On the two lower levels the character of the spaces changes to places of privacy and refuge. The middle tube houses the bedrooms, each with a different aspect and outlook. The lower level has a cave like atmosphere with the room formed by a cut bedrock wall and a dark stone floor connecting the internal and external spaces. The pool provides a water element spanning between the rock wall and the garden.
Detail elements have drawn upon surrounding natural forms for inspiration. For example, the angled bands on the front façade reference the tree branches of the native eucalypts. They also serve as a privacy screen for the dining space behind the façade.
images © John Gollings