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    Open house: Cooper Park House features cubist form that encourages onlookers to stop and stare

    Nathan Johnson

    The oversized pivot entry door and transparent gate to Cooper Park House, NSW are seldom closed; an invitation for Edward Street pedestrians to stop and peer through the house and into the natural parkland beyond.

    Tobias Partners architects were responsible for the design and they explain that this overt invitation to the public domain to engage with the house was part of their initial design goal, one that also informed the building’s cubist-like form.

    Situated on a short isthmus with a sandstone escarpment to the south and an undisturbed panorama of trees leading down to Cooper Park to the North, the architects aimed to link these two environments for the pedestrians on the dead end street, all within an ecologically immersed design.

    The result is a study of stacked boxes that cascade down the site’s steep slope and respond to its variety of topographical levels. The boxes are mostly trimmed by steel I-beams and volumed by low e glazing glass, honed timber rods or patterned masonry.

    The main living spaces are double-height, completely glazed and sited to the north to capture natural light and allow cross ventilation throughout the house.  The double-height windows not only frame the views but also connect the lower, ground and entry levels that are otherwise segregated in their variety of cubed forms.

    “The volumes themselves are derived from the desire to capture views from the minute you enter the family/entertaining areas, to the minute you go to sleep in your room at night,” explains founding principal, Nick Tobias.

    “It’s like a total immersion in nature – the boxes, where open to the surrounding Greygums, Bloodwoods and Coast Mahogany are trimmed in brutalist steel I-beams, allowing the eye to smoothly transition from inside-to-out along the North-South axis of the site.”

    Cooper Park House also has all the trimmings of a luxury home and is finished to suit its opulent Woolhara, Sydney post code. But while the project might have all the embellishments of an exclusive residence, the architects have kept respect for the public by offering a little of its view and natural beauty for the enjoyment of all.

    Images: Justin Alexander.

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