Our team collaborated closely with the plumber and electrician to enable near invisibility of services, concealing pipes and cabling within the steel rectangular hollow sections (RHSs) of the construction.
Perched high on the escarpment, the house welcomes visitors coming up the slope with a view of its corrugated iron underside, unmarred by pipes and cables.
The speedy project schedule doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges.
The steep slope with no driveway meant builders had to carry everything uphill from the car park below.
Visiting cockatoos loved pecking at the hardwood finishes so planned netting was expanded to keep them at a distance.
And the centrepiece of the entrance, a massive metal spiral staircase fabricated as one piece, required a crane and all hands on deck to install.
“The spiral staircase installation had to be undertaken with great care as a major tree limb was in the path of its installation," says Cole.
"We craned it in, then screwed it around the tree branch, using the spiral to our advantage.
"We used our 3D model of the tree to plan how we would do this without damaging the tree.
"In complex construction challenges like this, it helps to be one team – your architect and builder need to be thinking like each other.
"It was still a delicate operation and let’s just say there were some tense moments when it was dangling from a 100-tonne crane 35m in the air.”
It’s worth noting that the project was built during two citywide COVID-19 lockdowns, which presented unique onsite management challenges.
Construction sites were permitted to continue operations only by adhering to strict guidelines.
We complied with these requirements and still managed to stay on schedule.
Living in the canopy
Ascending the stone stairs and the spiral staircase, you enter a secluded space suffused with light and leaves and open to the air.
With a soundscape of bird calls, it’s like being in a treehouse.
Glimpses of the beach, jetty and Pittwater village shift behind foliage.
The kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms are stacked along the outward-looking building.
With no hallway, you’re in nature every time you leave a room.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling when you’re up there – being able to look out into the horizon from every room makes it feel like a different world,” says the owner.
“We love lying on the hammock, looking out to the beach through the foliage – it’s very peaceful.”