At Home Amongst The Canopy – Tree House by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects
Bronte, NSW, Australia
Set on an elevated site facing north towards the beach, Madeline Blanchfield Architects’ Tree House takes its names its position amongst the treetops.
As the home Madeline Blanchfield designed for herself and her young family, the house is a distinctly personal project. Set in Bronte and, therefore, blessed with proximity to both the beach and the city, the location facilitates an appealing relaxed lifestyle connected to nature. The house responds to this with a deliberate focus on the relationship between the interior spaces and the site itself. Openings take in the views of the treetops and capture the changing natural light over the course of the day, and the plan is flipped, placing the living and kitchen spaces on the highest level in response to the steep site.
The home is designed to offer a sense of journey. “I’m a big believer that a house should open up as you enter it and continue to give and ideally a house will have little moments of awe and wonder as you move through so it’s not just all in your face in the first moment,” she explains. The spiral stair facilitates this journey, while different spaces offer their own experiences of both the architecture and the site.
Tree House exemplifies the studio’s detailed, considered and pared-back approach, emphasising fundamental qualities of light, space and materiality and from there drawing out the design’s form and more sculptural elements, of which the lithe central stair is a primary example. “We approach design as quite a scientific undertaking. We’re very interested in light and the quality fo space and that comes first,” Madeline says. “The sun and shading and sustainable principles built into a building are very important to us.”