Rose Bay Residence

“We never want to move from here, we love the house and the artist way the spaces have been created for the family and our art work and possessions.”


The guiding philosophy behind this modern suburban house was for sustainability principles to inform every aspect of home design.

Maximising natural cooling, heating and light in order to conserve energy was a dominant influence on the design. Large eaves create a “broad-rimmed hat” that shades the facade and cools the home in summer, while a timber screen shades the western aspect.

The form was developed from an understanding that the main face of the house faced due west across Sydney Harbour and needed to shut down in summer to protect the interiors from the heat of the afternoon sun. A pod shaped form for the bedrooms was created that sits upon a series of concrete blades that are surrounded in an operable façade.

An internal stairwell expels heat while sky windows and louvers provide cross-ventilation and light. Cross-ventilation is maximised by positioning the house to capture north-eastern winds in summer, removing the need for air-conditioning. To protect against cold, the south side of the residence is a solid concrete wall, which acts as a thermal barrier. Polished concrete floors also utilise hydronic heating, warming the house in winter yet staying cool in summer.

Water conservation was another important objective. Water initiatives include a rainwater tank hidden under the central courtyard for drip irrigation, and water smart toilets.

Another key concept was for the house to capture the essence of the natural environment and relate strongly to its context. Use of glass and large sliding doors in the bedroom and lounge create a visual connection with nature and minimise the boundary between indoors and outdoors