The Freshwater House is nestled below a sandstone cliff overlooking a beach reserve in a northernSydney suburb. Designed for a family of four, each level of the dwelling provides a different spatialexperience to respond to its locationwithin the site and its use.
The basement podium level is built to the front boundary, following the neighbouring developmenton either side. The garage is concealed behind vertical weathered timber cladding, which wrapsaround the entire level. Entry into the dwelling is through a deeply recessed vestibule andintroverted foyer cut out from the timber cladding.
An abstract ‘Z’ stair links the enclosed basement foyer to the ground floor level podium-top gardenand living space, with expansive views over the beach. The glazed doors of this level visually extendthe living space to courtyards within the site and the exterior landscape. The weathered timbercladding of the podium continues to this level to form a handrail, the battens of which are angled tomaximise the view to the beach. Cabinet pieces within this floor are clad in black mirror, chrome anda veneer the colour of weathered timber. The space dissolves into a play of views and reflections,with the highly reflective surfaces contrasting with thecolour and texture of weathered timber. Theceiling above the living space is painted matt black to minimise the glare from the water during theday and to dissolve the ceiling into the sky in the evening and along with it any sense of enclosure.
The topbedroom level is clad with custom-made external bi-folding shutters anodised dark bronze.The shutters provide privacy, enclosure and dappled light to this level. The detailing of the shuttersis purposefully simple such that the building reads as an abstract form in the landscape when viewedfrom the beach. When the shutters are opened the appearance of the building, and the experienceof the interior, transforms