The Tree House - H House by Marston Architects
Middle Cove, NSW, Australia
Set above the streetscape in Sydney’s north-shore suburb of Middle Cove, H House is referred to as the ‘tree house’ by its owners for its fanciful placement above the tree line.
H House is the work of Marston Architects, a small yet seasoned team with over 30 years in the industry. Their sincere passion for architecture presents itself contextually and logically in each of their projects, displaying an overarching understanding for the role they play as designers of place.
Vivianne Marston describes how “H House embodies many aspects important to Marston Architects including liveability, longevity and delight.” Decades of experience lend a wealth of knowledge towards H House and the ability to think outside the parameters of a challenging steep and narrow site. Marston Architects innovatively use these obstacles as opportunities for a point of difference.
The rich spotted gum exterior cascades to street level from its slanted site and is generously layered with lush tropical planting. Height is already used to an advantage where it provides privacy to the large windows above that can be left untreated to enjoy the views beyond from the living spaces. The concept behind H House’s design is the fusion of a home with its surroundings. Mirroring the simplicity and order of nature into the interior instates a feeling of harmony between the internal and external environments that is evident both aesthetically and atmospherically.
The upper level’s open plan maximises the feeling of being within a tree canopy through the continuation of its outdoor connection from front to back between exaggerated eaves wrapped in warm spotted gum. Outwardly extending edges of the living area frame the natural vista, which is easily appreciated in peaceful reflection from the understated interior. Openings to the bedrooms branch off from the central space and offer smaller, protective nooks of comfort and rest. The interior furnishings are pared back to ensure clarity and tranquillity,with space and purpose for each object to be used and admired in uncomplicated solidarity.
A mindfulness towards the sustainability of this design is evident in the experience of standing within the space. Fresh air reaches every part of the home through deep window and door cavities that allow for the whole house to be opened up, even during one of Sydney’s many tropical rain storms. The selection of hard-wearing materials such as polished concrete promotes longevity and acts as large thermal mass where front openings have consciously been oriented due north. The visual connection to nature achieved through the expansive openings promotes an overall sense of well-being; the essence of a well-designed habitat.
“The final product is very honest in its planning and detailing. The house is a sum of its parts as all aspects relate to each other,” reflect Vivianne on the congruity of the completed works. Comfortably settled in its careful placement within the established vegetation, H House is an unassuming balance between minimalist luxury and functional form. It has a narrative that complements its environment by providing a dwelling of respite and calm.