Lavender Bay House: a play of geometries in the heart of Sydney

The Sydney Harbor is a picturesque tableau of contrasts: amid the artistic strokes that nostalgically portray the marine blue and the slow progress of the boats, imposing and futuristic geometric forms like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House emerge.

The architectural firm Durbach Block Jaggers envisioned creating a modern residence on the waterfront that would seamlessly integrate with the delicate tensions typical of Sydney’s harbor. This vision gave birth to the Lavender Bay House.

materials used

The first aspect to consider when integrating a house into a specific environment is the materials, which influence both the durability and aesthetics of the building.

Every detail in the Lavender Bay House was designed to maximize this harmony, especially given the structure’s numerous openings to the outside, allowing glimpses of the interiors from various angles. Durbach Block Jaggers executed the project by alternating interior areas with a series of small pocket gardens, forming a sinuous, verdant circuit. Consequently, the choice of materials was meticulous: concrete, oak wood, green and blue marble, and painted steel appear throughout the three floors of the house. However, the dominant material is sandstone.

the use of sandstone

Durbach Block Jaggers aimed to create an architecture that seemed sculpted and shaped by the passage of time, as if it had always been there, along Sydney’s harbor coast, like a natural element. Therefore, all the exteriors were made with sandstone, a stone material mainly composed of sand fragments, formed from the continuous deposition of sediments.

Conceptually, the Lavender Bay House evokes a structure that has been present in the harbor for ages, onto which the designers have installed modern elements and continuous geometric plays, mirroring the surrounding landscape. Essentially, the residence is a vertically organized sandstone cube, intersected by continuous sinuous shapes, as if carved over the years by the sea’s waves.

connecting indoor spaces with the external environment

The Lavender Bay House forms a cohesive unit with Sydney’s harbor environment not only because of its sandstone composition but also due to the seamless continuity between its internal and external spaces. This is clearly demonstrated by two elements: the front door, with its curved keyhole shape, showing absolute symbiosis with the inner garden walls, and the main room, the true point of contact with the harbor.

This room, which at 15 meters in length could be described as a hybrid between a living room and a terrace, faces directly onto the waterfront and integrates perfectly with its surroundings. This integration is especially achieved by the white roof covering it: with its decisive curves, it echoes the forms of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and gracefully and elegantly emulates the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Photo credits: Neil Durbach, Ross Honeysett, Luc Remond, Nathan Dawes – archdaily.com

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