Situated on a steep site that overlooks Bronte Beach, Tobias Partners have devised Bronte House, a sensitively designed multi-storey dwelling that imitates the topography, not the other way round.
Bronte House emphasises connections between levels, which began with devising the house’s structure. The practice decided terrace volumes up the site and away from the street, allowing for a more recessive building whilst enhancing natural light in all areas.This terracing ensures upper levels feel embedded in the site, and never towering above it.
The lower level, with it’s garden and pool is frequently used and sits above the footpath separated only by planting at the boundary. This allows an interaction with the public domain where the sounds from both intertwine. The upper and lower levels, five storeys in total, are connected by a stairwell that stitches together the volumes to ensure occupants do not feel distanced or isolated. An external void placed at the entry also underlines connection, fusing the two living levels whilst allowing more daylight into the lower level.
The materiality of the building is of minimalistic proportions, which is enhanced by the presence of glazing and timber screening. Off-form concrete is the primary material of the house, that enables it to stand with a sense of assuredness and conviction, and effectively cements the house to the site. The upper level saw Tobias Partners opt for a charcoal steel-framed structure with matching external cladding which enhances the recessive nature of the approach to the site. The joinery is punctured only for access to stairs, meaning they sit continuous from front to back of the house across all levels, making them a truly functional and rational core element in the design.
Bronte House employs passive principles for heating and cooling, and which interacts with its social and environmental contexts were primary aims of the team, ensuring that this project is a responsible and sustainable contribution to Sydney’s urban fabric. The house requires little ongoing maintenance over time, which ensures the tenure spent by its current occupants will be a lengthy and enjoyable one.
Moving beyond the challenges of the site, Tobias Partners have created a home of tight-knit volumes that are enhanced by an impressive programme and surrounding locale. The house engages with its site in many facets, embracing the topography and the beach beyond its back doors.