Art in Residence – Vaucluse Bay House by Tobias Partners Architects
Vaucluse, NSW, Australia

Photography Justin Alexander
Words Jackson Hides

Reimagining an existing waterfront house, Tobias Partners transforms Vaucluse Bay House into a home befitting its enviable location. Tucked away discretely on Sydney Harbour, the house is both a luxurious coastal home and an art gallery displaying the clients’ collection of paintings and sculpture.

Vaucluse Bay House represents a comfortable and relaxed backdrop that encourages entertaining. The site is fortunate to have only one neighbour, with sea and parklands on the two other main boundaries. However, given the house was part-existing and part-new, there were limitations with regards to site proximity. The property would naturally be afforded some protections from north-easterly summer breezes and south-westerly winter winds, but it also meant that particular consideration had to be given to materiality and floor layout, owing to direct afternoon sun.

Vaucluse Bay House represents a comfortable and relaxed backdrop that encourages entertaining.

The home reaps the benefits of a commanding, beautiful location on the water.

The clients’ impressive art collection was a major consideration from the outset. Not only are the walls lined with artwork, but outdoor sculptures create a sculpture garden that can be enjoyed from within the home as a result of the considered lines of sight and position of apertures. The result is a building that combines the roles and functions of both a home and an art gallery, allowing the clients to be immersed at all times in their art collection.

Reimagining an existing waterfront house, Tobias Partners transforms Vaucluse Bay House into a home befitting its enviable location.

The entry foyer separates the house according to its two most primary uses. The foyer allows access to the private family zone via an internal bridge, while guests proceed downstairs to a dramatic, double-height gallery-inspired entertaining space. Service areas are concealed thanks to custom joinery, minimising distractions for those in attendance and enabling uninterrupted enjoyment of the unrivalled park and harbour views. The lower level in particular engages with these views best, as a refurbished pool and decking space offer calm and respite at the back of the house. The house borders the water’s edge, and, when combined with the existing gardens within the property, the architecture’s position adjacent the water dissolves the boundaries between inside and out, ably assisted by the aforementioned outdoor sculptures.

The clients’ art collection was an important consideration for the design.

Glazed walls allow spaces to quickly become outdoor entertaining areas or be partitioned into intimate interiors, as required. These allow the already generously sized living spaces a sense of enhanced spaciousness, whilst simultaneously enlivening the façade and taking full advantage of the views of the water, the clients’ sculpture collection and the garden.

The clients’ impressive art collection was a major consideration from the outset.

It is such versatility that is at the heart of Vaucluse Bay House, which effortlessly creates spaces for living, for entertaining, and for the display and enjoyment of artwork. In transforming the existing house, Tobias Partners has created a sophisticated and multifaceted home that captures the essence of its rare waterfront location and the clients’ love of both art and entertaining.

An internal bridge provides a sense of drama and occasion upon entry.

Tobias Partners has created a sophisticated and multifaceted home that captures the essence of its rare waterfront location and the clients’ love of both art and entertaining.

Published 26 May, 2020
Photography  Justin Alexander
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