Discreetly Open – Rose Bay by Studio Johnston and Dreamtime Australia Design

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Architecture by Studio Johnston
Photography by Dave Wheeler and George Popov
Interior Design by Dreamtime Australia Design
Structural Engineering by SDA Structures

Anchored in place, Rose Bay directs views out toward the Sydney Harbour and Opera House and navigates the conditions of the site in reaction to these vistas. Behind a concealed and privately encased frontage, Studio Johnston and Dreamtime Australia Design emphasise the enviable location.

Optimising the sloping terrain, levels are created within the structure to imbed the home into the site, seeing it become an extension of the earth. Connecting to the surroundings drove the motivation for the home’s design, with aspects and openings angled towards the iconic landmarks. Presenting as a single-storey home, the top level of the residence sits at street level. Once within, the additional levels follow the fall of the slope and gently cascade downwards. Rose Bay is formed through a collaborative effort, with architecture by Studio Johnston and interior design by Dreamtime Australia Design.

Located in a westerly orientation, balancing the incoming harsh sun and its potential heat gain, together with the want to connect to these icons of place, was key.

At the home’s centre, a large courtyard space sits reminiscent of those in European hotels, where outdoor areas are key to everyday life. Animating an arrangement of patterned floor tiles, focal plantings add a natural relief to the otherwise hard-surfaced space. The openness of this core area, together with the accompanying outdoor terrace spaces and pool, reinforces an outdoor lifestyle and a willingness to engage with nature.

Orientated facing west, the structure balances managing sunlight and potential heat gain with optimising sightlines to desired viewpoints. This balance is achieved by creating moments of reprieve such as the central courtyard, deep reveals and overhangs. Unfolding as the spaces open to the view, the home carves its identity through the interwoven and weighted nature of its comprising parts.

By creating moments of reprieve, of which the courtyard is a state of this, together with deeper reveals and overhangs, the balance is achieved.

Inspired by the Mediterranean yet embracing its location, Rose Bay sits anchored in place. Studio Johnston and Dreamtime Australia Design ensure a consistency of lightness is felt throughout the home, binding each of the spaces together and to the site.