Cliff Face House

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Palm Beach, NSW Australia  –  Fergus Scott Architects and Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Project duration:     2007 – 2011
Completion:     2011
Photography:     Michael Nicholson
Awards:     Winner 2012 AIA Wilkinson Award

There are many ‘Palm Beaches” around the world, but I doubt that any can claim to have the extraordinary natural beauty of Sydney’s Palm Beach.

An aerial view over Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Palm Beach
An aerial view over Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Palm Beach

Once an area of extensive rainforest, the beach was named after the gorgeous native palms that can still be seen throughout the area. Set on a thin spit separating the Pacific from Broken Bay and Pittwater, it is truly unique. I spent many days of my youth there enjoying the surf, sand, sun and wonderful friends.

Located 45 kilometres from the Sydney CBD, it started life as a holiday destination but over time has become home to a fortunate few able to avoid – or willing to undertake – the tortuous commute to the city.

Much of the terrain is steep and landslips have been common in the past. Today, rigid building and engineering standards are in place to ensure both the integrity of structures and this wonderful landscape. The home presented here shows how a light footprint, working with the terrain and environment, is able to produce a home full of sunshine, sea breezes, interesting features and wonderful views.

Architect’s notes:
“Living platforms on a timber framed structure open to the sandstone cliff behind. Broad outlook over the bay. Operable screens veil the structure and filter western light. Cool air rises though the building as required.”

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