The Sydney suburb of Bondi is known for beach views, but not necessarily from within the guts of someone’s home. The exception to this is Living Screen House, a private slice of Bondi Beach within Bondi. Taking the idea of contextual inspiration and deepening it, the single residence references the iconic blue waters of its community with a literal, swimmable slice of water that runs through its interior.
When CplusC Architectural Workshop took on the design of the project, the brief received was for a family home that would be capable of balancing the dual needs of entertainment and privacy. Despite a narrow site, the spatial planning of the home was planned to separate social and family spaces, both conceptually and tangibly.
The most distinctive design feature of the home, the above-ground lap pool, acts as a marker of community, sharing a clear wall with social spaces and acting as a visual connection between the interior and exterior of the home. From here, light is brought into the double-height social space through the refractive veils of glass and water, filtering into the interconnected kitchen, living and dining areas. The translucent palette allows swimmers to remain connected to the activity of these lower levels.
The upper levels have been reserved for private and family-oriented areas. Here, each of the bedrooms have been designed with outlooks onto private outdoor green spaces and, in some cases, over the vertical garden. This latter has a second function as a privacy screen, protecting from neighbouring views.
“The craftsmanship of the build is elegantly revealed in the material palette, which includes unfinished cement bonded wood composite boards, burnished concrete, expressed timber, Corten façade and steel and timber columns that celebrate the structural items in the house,” says the architect. Materials within the home were predominantly chosen for their raw patina and low-embodied energy.
Sustainability – and particularly the integration of passive design principles – was difficult due to the site’s narrow footprint. Despite this, the design reveals an emphasis on natural daylighting, the procurement of which drove the form of the building. In addition to the double-height social space and liminal indoor-outdoor pool, the architects incorporated fully plumbed, LED-lit living green wall screens and custom planter beds to the front and side façades.
A large rainwater storage system sits alongside a “massive” 10KW solar system on the roof, rounding out the sustainability principles of a nature-oriented home.