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Heart of light

Once a dark, single-level brick abode, this renovation has introduced a light, airy feel and a second level while threading sustainable sensibilities through the home

Renovation by Alexander Symes Architect

From the renovating architect:

This home is located in the Bronte Gully, NSW, an area which is characterised by a dense urban streetscape that steps down from the street to a verdant green corridor at the rear. 

The original house was a robust but dark single story brick house accessed via a cramped entry below street level and overshadowed by the neighbours. 

The aim was to radically transform the feel of the existing home while retaining as much as possible of the original structure for environmental and cost reasons. 

The design centres on strategies to introduce ample natural daylight and natural ventilation throughout the home, while connecting the interior to the garden at every opportunity. 


The entry was re-configured so that you enter the house at street-level, via a green roof. 

This arrival sequence establishes the biophilic connection to the garden and gully that continues throughout the house. 

The primary bedrooms and private spaces have been retained but reinvigorated with updated glazing, skylights and an insulated high performance envelope. 

The communal spaces have been reconfigured to provide more generous proportions with fluid connections to the garden. 

The garden has been designed in collaboration with Melissa Wilson Landscape Architects and includes a generous outdoor dining area and swimming pool. 

An upper-floor extension hosts the entry, main bedroom, ensuite and robe. 

This extension was constructed from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) which was central to the sustainability strategy as CLT provides a structural system that does not require secondary internal cladding. 

This efficient use of materials is part of the de-materialised design philosophy which seeks to eliminate waste and celebrate materials in their raw form. 

All of the new building fabric – including structure, cladding and linings – was selected to be carbon negative. 

The combination of maximising re-use, thoughtful specification of new materials, double glazed windows, insulation, and the inclusion of solar panels, and rainwater tanks results in a beautiful and environmentally friendly family home.

Credit list

Renovating architect
Cross Laminated Timber consultant/supplier
Schilliger Holz CLT Solutions
Landscape architect
Melissa Wilson Landscape Architects
Civil engineering
R Balas Consulting
Builder
AJP Constructions
Structural engineering
Cantilever Engineers
Geotechnical engineering
JK Geotechnics

Designed by: Alexander Symes Architect

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Barton Taylor

27 Feb, 2022

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