Millers Point House

A hybrid response to the heritage context, synthesising a 'quiet' streetscape expression with a contemporary spatial diagram to create a dwelling with an expansive spatial range.

Project team:
Andrew Burns, Dmitriy Lewicki, Anna Ewald-Rice, Jodie Chieu

Architecture AND have completed the design for a rare new dwelling in the historic Millers Point context of Sydney. Working in collaboration with Tasman Storey Architects, the design concept integrates a sensitive, sympathetic built form within the streetscape with a dynamic contemporary courtyard to the rear of the dwelling. This hybrid concept is a result of genuine collaboration across practices and generations.

The courtyard is articulated as a subtraction in the groundplane, surrounded by sandstone walls and spillover planting. This gesture enables a strong landscape presence to be created on the site, retaining the current quality of a 'green node' at this significant intersection - a villa in a garden.

Grain analysis.

The site presented multiple challenges; a new dwelling in a state heritage-listed suburb, with a triangular footprint and a significant fall from front to rear.

In order to inform the design proposal and to clarify the design framework, an exhaustive context analysis was undertaken at the outset of the project, studying typologies, grain, massing, materiality and other key attributes of the context. The study yielded findings that informed the design; dwellings typically front the street in a perpendicular manner, scale is broken into moderately-proportioned volumes, the site is a nodal, gateway site.

Axonometric sketch.

The proposal strives to create a built form that reads as an integral part of it's place, observing historical Georgian proportions while incorporating subtle detailing to signal the contemporary nature of the project.

Upon entry and descent to the lower ground living areas, a contemporary expression and spatial configuration is encountered, seemingly excavated below the villa. This disjunction expands the experiential range of the dwelling and serves as the radical aspect of the design proposition.

The landscape design by Dangar Barin Smith creatively reinterprets the collector gardens of the late 19th and early 20th century, blending together a rich palette of vegetation types, responding to the subtropical climate of Sydney and landscape patterns of the suburb.

Approach from south, a green node is created to the southern corner.

While the context is highly varied, the analysis makes clear some very primary observations; residential dwellings tend to comprise light toned masonry materiality of render, stone or brick; built form typically comprises rectilinear masses oriented to the street, and glazing comprises gridded openings of vertical proportion.

The degree to which architecture should adhere to these established patterns is a nuanced question. Through the collaborative process with Tasman Storey we have gained insight into the virtue of a quiet expression; that at first glance could be understood as part of the historical development pattern, yet through detailing and the sheer abundance of landscape reads as a distinctly contemporary response.

Typology and grain analysis.

Proportion analysis.

Approach from north-east.