Worshipping the Sun – Light House by Welsh + Major Architects
Sydney, NSW, Australia
A home for a family of ‘sun chasers’, Light House lives true to its name – encouraging the inward flow and reflection of light. Welsh and Major Architects carefully curates surfaces, materiality and openings to douse the Sydney home in illumination.
Through the carefully curated openings, voids and screenings, the significant alteration to the original semi-detached home in Sydney sees the internal volumes reflect and connect to one another. Welsh and Major Architects brings together careful planning, simple geometries and select finishes to create an alteration that not only extends the previous home to provide additional space and amenity but, most importantly, imbues it with new light.
Coming together as two double volumes, the upper level and set high on a ridge on the site. Light House captures both the light and views to the west and the north, where the northern most volume twists upward toward the light. The lower level then remains more grounded and is deliberately north facing, along with the additional plunge pool. Internally, the zones open up and centre around a 6m high space that houses the connecting sculptural stair. The curated location of openings is designed to allow for light, shadows and a series of sun-affected colours to stream into the home. These colours and shadows are a way of animating the geometries and white plaster walls, as the sun moves across them at different times of the day.
Welsh and Major Architects brings together careful planning, simple geometries and select finishes to create an alteration that not only extends the previous home to provide additional space and amenity but, most importantly, imbues it with new light.
Externally, Light House sees the new additions clad in waterstruck bricks sit neatly behind the original home’s volume. Internally, the extensive use of soft and hard plaster adds a subtlety and muted background for artwork, furniture and the engagement with the incoming sun. The use of dark stained oak flooring then transitions into polished concrete as the floor plane steps down and onto the rear outdoor terrace and landscaping. These same monochrome foundations are carried through into the joinery and integrated storage, which is joined with stone to elevate the tactile experience.
Light House is a beautifully subtle use of materiality and strong volumetric forms. Through the considered planning and application of finishes and form, changing shadows and streams of light engage with home’s internal and external zones. Welsh and Major Architects’ understanding of materiality and spatial sensitivities sees an enduring and timeless alteration imagined as one to last.