Embracing the Unexpected – Bismarck House by Andrew Burges Architects
Bondi, NSW, Australia

Photography Prue Ruscoe
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Bismark House is the result of an intentionally less-than conventional brief, purposefully breaking free of the traditional residential mould. Andrew Burges Architects creates an informal home that experiments with materiality and embraces its long, linear landscape and site.

Located in Sydney’s Bondi, Bismarck House is a resetting of the expected. In the process of architectural design, the story is usually the same: client meets architect, client has dreams of their forever home, an affiliation with space, specific materiality, nods to their past, and a want to create something truly unique (and ‘theirs’) through the commission. This scenario was different. Instead, Andrew Burges Architects were asked to design freely, with a much looser brief, to create a home that was informal, unexpected, and with the potential to rent out in the future. Together with Design Daily Interiors and builder Robert Plumb Build, the scene was set for an unconventional and refreshing outcome.

Located in Sydney’s Bondi, Bismarck House is a resetting of the expected.

Creating a footprint that extends the presence of the garden along the length of the laneway, the idea of a continuous garden became one of the founding spatial principles of the resulting home.

Owned by Julia and Will Dangar (founding director of Dangar Barin Smith), the home’s landscape and living elements were inevitably taken care of. With over twenty-five years’ experience as a prominent landscape architect himself, Will’s legacy of over one thousand finished gardens was put to good use. Creating a footprint that extends the presence of the garden along the length of the laneway, the idea of a continuous garden became one of the founding spatial principles of the resulting home.

Together with Design Daily Interiors and builder Robert Plumb Build, the scene was set for an unconventional and refreshing outcome.

Internally, the soft and textured rendered neutral walls sit warmed by earth-coloured brickwork, and a feature sculptural metal stair screen, where the overall softness of palette speaks to a considered contemporary feel, and one of endurance.

Briefed with the freedom to experiment with materiality and the identity of the home more broadly, Andrew Burges Architects took the existing bones of the house’s post-war semi-detached structure and recalibrated it. From an analysis of the form on the site, and its adjacency to a north-facing laneway off of Sydney’s Bondi Road, a number of opportunities naturally presented themselves in terms of screening and creating a layered approach to privacy and filtration. The resulting use of light-coloured timber battens, combined with corrugated iron sheeting, conjure a familiar vernacular, while also embedding a sense of the informality proposed. Internally, the soft and textured rendered neutral walls sit warmed by earth-coloured brickwork, and a feature sculptural metal stair screen. The overall softness of palette speaks to a considered contemporary and enduring feel.

The overall softness of palette speaks to a considered contemporary and enduring feel.

Andrew Burges Architects took the existing bones of the house’s post-war semi-detached structure and recalibrated it.

The connection between inside and out, and a flow from enclosure to the carefully curated long garden, was also part of the experience of the home.

The moments of experience as one uses and moves through the spaces is the emphasis for the Bismarck House. Materials are recycled and reused with purpose, and the emphasis is on the internal experience, rather than on the impact of the external architectural form, which is refreshing in itself. The connection between inside and out, and a flow from enclosure to the carefully curated long garden is also an important part of the experience of the home. The successful collaboration and noted enthusiasm of the team is felt throughout. Bismarck House sees Andrew Burges Architects interpret the open brief, and create a warm and engaging series of spaces that speak to context and their owner’s core values.

Published 5 February, 2020
Photography  Prue Ruscoe
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