Blessed with the beauty of Sydney Harbour and a private beach hidden away on the doorstep of the CBD, House Taurus isn’t your atypical domicile. Stuck between city buildings and resembling a concrete monolith, Durbach Block Jaggers have devised something that is a brutalistic oasis amongst the metropolis.
Constructing the house effectively around a range of obstacles including an apartment building to the north that blocks the sun and a taller building to the east that overlooks the rear of the site, Durbach Block Jaggers have created a place that connects to the beach via beautiful landscaping, fig trees and jetties. The arc of the beach is centred on the site, with the main living space placed directly on the beach, sitting on a sculpted, landscaped stone base and connected to the water by landscaped stairs.
The upper floors are made solid in off-form concrete, with the practice likening the visual of the facade to a water-softened pebble. Precise openings cut into the block frame offer views of the harbour, with a double-height central courtyard capturing a city view and setting sun. A coiled stairwell moves through all three levels to the roof garden, a true place of tranquility.
The beach room juxtaposes softened geometries and archaic materials to form a space of distinctive proportions. It is as open and light as possible, seamless with the garden and pool court. Although improbably deep, the room retains a sense of lightness on all sides through a curved and top-lit void above the fireplace.
An underground car stacker holds the occupants' vehicles and doubles as a wall for the landscaped courtyard seen upon entry. The entry lift drops 18m to a 35m long entry hall below, connecting directly to the first floor level of the house. This entry hall is arched and reflective, exaggerating the perspective towards a framed view of the harbour.
A 16.6m lap pool bridges between the stone retaining wall at the harbour edge and house, passing under its high volume. The pool always has a sunny end, a partly shaded middle, and a cave or grotto with reflected light. The pool captures the romance of the site, swimming from rock to water, into and out of bright sunlight.
House Taurus has reimagined harbourside living in the shape of a brutalist concrete dwelling that takes advantage of its standing while rising above the adversities faced by the block. Durbach Block Jaggers have been able to craft a house that brings together a robust textural palette with the beauty of the beach and surrounding landscape to form a true living experience. The house exudes unconventional luxury, with its unique facade and programme allowing for its occupants to turn away from the hustle and bustle of the city, right in the epicentre of it.