Sydney firm Andrew Burges Architects has redesigned and in the process, redefined an already standing home on a reasonably-sized block in the narrow and cloistered streets of North Bondi.

Completed in December 2016 and known simply as the Brick House, Andrew Burges Architects took a site with an existing and what has been labelled as a “badly altered bungalow” along with older homes on either side, to create a modern, spacious and thoroughly functional residence. 

The clients brief was concise – they wanted something interesting, with two storeys and they wanted to use the same bricks that have been used in the contemporary rebuild of the Kolumba art museum in Cologne, Germany.

According to the architects, the actual, brief was for a family home comprising five bedrooms, a study and associated living rooms on a wide block in Bondi. The concept proposed a brick base with three ‘bridges’ spanning across the brickwork, creating an internal rhythm of bedroom volumes and double high skylight voids that define the interior. 

The Brick House they said, needed to “utilise large glazed windows above the brick walls detailed to have no visible evidence of window framing, creating the illusion that all public spaces of the interior are open to the external elements beyond.”

These large windows are also crucial to the overall design as they light copious amounts of light into this home.

Andrew Burges Architects also noted that the floor introduces “a subtle topography into the flat site with level changes at the living and dining area to create thresholds within the open plan arrangement.”

From the street, the house looks quite cubic, while inside, it is anything but thanks to the very clever application of a series of the three bridges (or footbridges) that allows the internal spaces in the first instance to flow seamlessly into one another, while at the same time, also offering a good level of privacy between adult and child areas across all the different house sections.

This is crucial when the occupants of the house number five people - with three of them being young boys as part of the occupancy mix.

Getting back to the house façade, the external grey brickwork is carefully balanced with the black timber elements such as the black timber cladding and black timber shutters

Overall, the house is a balance of unique brick work, a range of natural timber panels and flooring while outside the blackened wood cladding acts as a delineator between old and new.

All this is set over across two storeys in a part of Sydney that is often overshadowed by its more salubrious, and at times, far more desirable maritime neighbour.