Luigi Rosselli Architects

Bridge Building

Hunters Hill, NSW, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Project Type
  • Residential
  • Hunters Hill, NSW, Australia
Project Year
  • 2018
  • Edward Birch
Project Team
  • Luigi Rosselli
  • Edward Birch
  • Owner Builder
Structural Consultant
  • Rooney & Bye Pty Ltd
  • Sydney Joinery Pty Ltd
  • Hunters Hill, NSW, Australia

Water is a precious element in residential architecture, almost an essential element for happiness. In Islamic architecture water is used as a balm to restless minds and is often found in psychiatric hospitals. This justifies our manic search of waterfronts, beachfronts, harbourfronts, lakefronts and riverfronts to settle in. The main design element used in Bridge Building by Luigi Rosselli Architects is water.

Water is also a divisive element; it creates a barrier or forms a border, such as the moats that surrounded mediaeval castles, or the swimming pools of today. Australian swimming pools in particular create barriers that not just inexperienced swimmers but ones that all residents must face owing to a strict pool fencing code.

The only access to the house from the street entry is via this bridge over the swimming pool. A minimal stainless steel frame bridging the swimout section of the pool was arched to span the distance. The tall timber battened balustrade is there to comply with the Australian pool fencing code, the most draconian code in the world, designed to protect toddlers from drowning. The structure of the bridge is a pair of slender stainless steel beams covered by a timber slatted walkway; the same slatted timber forms the pool fence on the side; at a required height of 1200mm.

A cantilevered balcony makes the perfect evening Martini terrace, where one can contemplate the Sydney city views in the light of the setting sun, beyond the balcony is the master bedroom.

Presenting a tall and slender frontage to the leafy suburb of Hunters Hill, a statement against oversized suburban mansions on steroids that prevail in current trends. This house has a layered superposition of materials: a sandstone base, a rendered structural concrete fascia, surrounded by a timber clad infill and terminating with a skilfully curved classic half round gutter.

Carved into the sandstone wall is a BBQ, and essential accessory for the carnivorous Australian outdoor life. In this case the BBQ ended up larger than was desired by the project architect, Edward Birch.

The swimming pool is lined with an off-white cement based render called Beadcrete. The blue shade is the result of the natural colour of clear water combined with the blue glass pebbles in the finish.

The home itself is an ‘L’ shaped two-storey residence, with dual aspect, facing the pool on the northern side and a garden to the rear on the other side. A tall sandstone corner contains the external barbeque and the internal fireplace.

Bust, TV and fireplace: the three essential components for a winter evening when Martini on the terrace is too cold to bear. The Latin nosed bust there to look away in disbelief. Soft flush cornices connect the walls to the ceiling, a detail admired in 1900s Milanese apartments.

The general planning and proportions of the house lead to a calm and contemplative design where water is present in every aspect and conveys a sense of tranquility and balance.

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Edward Birch

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