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Garnet St Coogee

Architect – Chenchow Little

Nestled on a steeply sloping corner block with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean in Sydney, Australia, the Coogee House stands as a testament to both design ingenuity and environmental resilience. Situated in an environment exposed to strong ocean winds, salt spray, and harsh sunlight, the dwelling was envisioned to optimize panoramic views while ensuring privacy from the street and neighbouring properties, offering sheltered internal and external living areas.

Conceptualized as a solid masonry shell adorned with a lightweight protective veil, the dwelling features a tent-like roof structure and operable battened screen walls that serve to provide shade and privacy to the living spaces. The vertical expression of this veil creates a distinctive, refined abstract object within the suburban landscape, adopting dark recessive colours to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. External living rooms, decks, verandas, and stairways occupy the interstitial space between the internal masonry structure and the lightweight skin.

Carefully modulated to respond to the site’s topography, the building’s form maintains views for neighbouring properties by skilfully cutting the roof down and splaying the walls. The structure gracefully follows the slope of the site, seemingly folding down towards the water.

Access to the house is granted via an elevated bridge over the north-facing landscaped courtyard. The upper level houses the living rooms, dining room, and kitchen, strategically maximizing access to sunlight, views, and cooling summer breezes. Meanwhile, the lower levels accommodate bedrooms, bathrooms, and a family room that opens onto the rear garden, completing a harmonious balance between architectural innovation and the natural landscape.