The brief was concise: To create something interesting, with two storeys, using the pale Petersen Kolumba bricks that were developed for Peter Zumthor’s Kolumba Museum in Cologne, Germany.

What Andrew Burgess Architects created from that simple brief is a spectacular home with a rich architectural terrain, and jaw-dropping volumes and spaces.

Brick House

Brick House is a light-filled, private family home with five bedrooms, a study and associated living rooms on a wide block in a tightly scaled streetscape of detached houses and apartments in North Bondi. Most striking in its design is the prominent layering of the indoors and outdoors, maintaining privacy from neighbouring houses and creating a clear connection to the landscape and sky.

“This play between inside and outside was a key strategy in creating a scale and complexity that reframed elements of the house as part of a broader ‘context’, interacting with sky and landscape, creating layered views from rooms through other elements of the house to the sky and garden beyond,” reflects Andrew Burgess.

From the street, the house presents as a cubic form, the soft grey brickwork of Petersen Kolumba K11 bricks wrapping from the street front into the house, almost drawing you inside.

Once inside, the mass of the exterior immediately breaks down. While the brickwork forms major structural walls and a beautiful fireplace surround, a series of double-height skylight voids divides the upper rooms into smaller forms and towers, and provides light wells to the ground floor. In the larger of the two voids, enormous glazed windows above the brick walls have no visible evidence of window frames, clearly revealing the blue skies of Bondi.

It's a sight to behold.

There is interest and topography on the ground floor, created using subtle changes in floor levels at the living and dining area, rather than walls, to divide spaces in an open plan arrangement. After stepping up from the entrance into the kitchen and dining areas, marked by oak flooring, you step down into the rear living room, to a concrete floor, to what is essentially an open, yet covered, garden room extending to a covered timber deck outside.

It's a seamless, thoughtful design.

A strong interplay of robust exterior materials and refined interior finishes sets Brick House apart. Petersen Kolumba bricks form the basis of the home’s simple, monolithic palette of brick, concrete and timber – including both natural timber panels (Oak timber floors, Victorian Ash gum beams, and American Oak ceilings) and blackened Burnt Ash cladding. All a brilliant contrast to the brickwork.

Brick House

There is a calm, robust quality to this design. And though Brick House was completed in 2016, thanks to the durability and quality of Petersen Kolumba bricks, and the remaining palette, the home looks as newly built today as it did at handover.

Brick House has won the following awards, commendations and nominations:

  • 2017 NSW AIA Architecture Awards - Residential Architecture Award
  • 2017 Houses Awards - Commendation for New House over 200m²
  • 2017 World Architecture Festival - Shortlisted World House of the Year
  • 2017 IDEA Awards - Residential Single Category Award

Project details

Architect: Andrew Burgess Architects

Builder: Kraken Projects

Product: Petersen Kolumba K11 bricks

Photographer: Peter Bennetts