Perched Above the Ocean – Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan Architecture
Video Feature
Clovelly, NSW, Australia

Photography Katherine Lu
Architecture James Garvan
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan Architecture takes inspiration from the enviable clifftop location and emphasises engagement with the ocean below.

As a personal expression of the architect’s lifestyle and practice, Clovelly Apartment takes a carefully curated design approach to planning, materiality to reprogram the traditional brief. Within its mere 62 square metre footprint, James Garvan Architecture brings the original 1965 apartment into the present era through a contemporary and thoughtful approach. As the architect’s own home, the aim was to dismantle the traditional concept of high-density apartment living and reinstate his home as a reflection of his own values. The resulting concept is executed through clever integrated joinery elements, a delineation of interior rooms and a creative approach to dividing the internal realms.

Within its mere 62 square metre footprint, James Garvan Architecture brings the original 1965 apartment into the present era through a contemporary and thoughtful approach.

Inspired by a connection to the ocean, and the landscape it perches over, the palette takes cues from coastal tones.

Built together with Sean Hancock from Hancock Homes, the new design transformed the original 1960s single bed apartment into a two-bedroom home for the young family. Though well below a standard two-bedroom (which generally commence at 72 square metre minimum) in size, Clovelly Apartment is an efficient and effective reconfiguration effort. Inspired by a connection to the ocean and the landscape it perches over, the palette takes cues from coastal tones. The materiality combines powdery neutral plaster walls with high-gloss ceilings and limed plywood timber elements. Meanwhile, creating and focusing views around the ocean and vistas beyond became the motivation for openings and resulting connections.

The public and private realms are inherently connected, but it is these adjustable elements that allow for the east-west arrangement that optimises the strategic placement of furniture together with the joinery.

Through an expressed structure, leaving the beams exposed, there remains a reminder of the previous floor plan and the home’s history. A key feature of the re-planning is the joinery wall, acting as a dynamic series of ‘secrets’ where pivoting panels allow for both privacy and openness to be enhanced by either demarking certain areas or deliberately opening them up. The public and private realms are inherently connected, but it is these adjustable elements that allow for the east-west arrangement that optimises the strategic placement of furniture together with the joinery.

Creating and focusing views around the ocean and vistas beyond became the motivation for openings and resulting connections.

A development model of sorts, James Garvan wanted to propose a solution that carved a blueprint for the conversion of other 1950 and 60s era apartments, within both budgetary restraints and the existing shell. The model also harnesses its operable façade, and welcomes cross ventilation internally, meaning mechanical cooling was not needed. Heavy window coverings also allow for heat retention during the winter months as well.

Together with an ambitious program, the heart of the concept lies in the bringing of people together.

Envisioned as an approachable and comfortable series of spaces, Clovelly Apartment is a personal reflection and expression of its owner. Together with an ambitious program, the heart of the concept lies in the bringing of people together. Each of the tactile elements is intended to capture a sense of time, and engage the human touch through the natural materials. James Garvan Architecture combines a sensibility to space, materiality and restraint, and provides a model for refitting similar properties.

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Envisioned as an approachable and comfortable series of spaces, Clovelly Apartment is a personal reflection and expression of its owner.

Tlp Clovelly Apartment James Garvan Architecture 05
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