The new home that emerges from the sloping terrains of Sydney’s suburb, Coogee, is a private sanctuary that maximises the panoramic of the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival of the site, it becomes obvious that behind the dark bronze anodized aluminium screen, there are three flights of a finely detailed concrete stairs. Although from the streetscape point of view, the screen seems a bit foreign, it actually acts as a veil to the private home. The “veil”, which is retractable in different places, continues around the perimeter of the building with a combination of external living areas and decks, it constantly intrigues the locals and visitors that pass by.
Interestingly, before this renovation, the owners had lived on site for a number of years. During this time they wanted to develop a deep understanding of the environment, considering the weather patterns and the need for privacy from their neighbours. The owners had then approached Stephanie Little and Tony Chenchow (who are co-directors of the practice), to solve the difficult contradictions that constantly arise between designing for privacy and openness in residential projects. This is dealt directly by the veil but also the arrangement of the interior spaces. Although the home has an “open-plan”, the entire living area is not visible at any one time. There are zones that break down the main volume, and the kitchen had been situated within the public area of the home. It offers views of the Pacific Ocean.
Additionally, the shape of the building was constructed based on the site’s topography. The building is dark bronze, which, according to Chenchow “allows the house to recede and announce itself at the same time. Because there is a lot of this colour [dark bronze] in the natural Australian landscape, it works very well in our environment”. This is a residential project that responds to its landscape instead of merely relying on it. Although the main living area is the portal to the external views, the visual interest within the home itself is strong and obvious. The layered structure is refined but causes curiosity to those who might be curious.