The clients initially approached Luigi Rosselli after falling for another of his Sydney residential projects, Six Degrees of Separation. Upon first meeting, they stacked three books on top of each other on a table and proclaimed, ‘we want the Books House’ – a rather unorthodox brief! Along with the clients’ suggested reading of The Importance of Living by Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang, this simple stack of books became the key inspiration for the project.
A steep sandstone slope with unencumbered views of the sparkling Middle Harbour was to be the foundation of the new build, the design ‘anchored in the idea of a “layered building” that referenced the sandstone ledges and outcrops that dominated the steep site,’ explains project architect Kristina Sahlestrom.
The rocky cliff face was embraced by Kristina, Luigi and their team, incorporating the sandstone so characteristic of this part of Sydney into the build, as well as making it part of the garden. The sandstone was excavated and quarried, then ‘painstakingly chiselled into shape by the stonemason.’ In line with Luigi Rosselli Architect’s commitment to sustainable design, all the sandstone cladding was repurposed from the site itself.
The orientation of each scissored terrace floor is designed to optimise all views, with the kitchen and living spaces located towards the water. Internally, the concrete walls timber detailing reflects a similar relationship to the natural environment, and a contrast to the organic materials accentuated by brass detailing. An elliptical staircase connects each level, whilst an additional floating stair bordered by a forest of brass poles is a showstopping centrepiece – reaching all the way to the rooftop!
In TRUE mysterious mansion style, the lower level of the home features a moveable bookcase pivots to reveal the client’s hidden study, with views overlooking the pool, resplendent with its own stunning sandstone cliff-face.