Text description provided by the architects. The site for the Glebe House is elevated above a sandstone cliff face and overlooks the Sydney city skyline. It is located in the inner-city suburb of Glebe known for its Victorian terrace houses and narrow streets. The allotments in the area are small and the density of the housing is very high compared to the average Sydney suburb. The site is overlooked by a Victorian terrace on the south and is elevated above 1980’s public housing to the north.
The existing dilapidated cottage on the site was demolished and replaced with a new compact two-storey dwelling with four bedrooms for a family of five.
The design for the dwelling seeks to maximise the available space on the small site within stringent planning controls and considerable site constraints. The envelope of the building is shaped by the simple offset of the minimum setback controls for each frontage. The height of the building is limited by the view-lines from the windows of the neighbouring dwelling. The resulting form of the dwelling has a flat roof and a wedge shape, which replicates the geometry of the triangular-shaped block.
The simple envelope of the building has been articulated with arched openings, which reference the arched openings and entrance portico of the neighbouring Victorian terrace house. Unlike traditional Victorian houses, the arched openings in the Glebe House occur in both elevations and on the plan. The arched windows on the elevation align with arched cut-outs in the floor plate to create three-dimensional internal voids within the space. The double-height voids maximise light penetration into the centre of the dwelling and add to the sense of space. A spiral staircase follows the curved form of the main void.
The building has been designed with internal and external cladding of white painted vertical timber boarding which replicates the materiality of the traditional cottages of the area. The large arched windows utilise vertical timber mullions for structural support. The vertical mullions of the windows reinforce the verticality and rhythm of the cladding and help to abstract the facades of the dwelling.
A rear outdoor covered space continues the materiality and language of the interior spaces. The arched windows of the external space are unglazed and the vertical mullions are designed to provide support for climbing plants.