This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Clever Home That Conjures Space

Architecture

In 2016 Artist James Turrell, the famous master of spatial illusion, designed the House of Light in Tokamachi, Japan. The architectural feat is described as a ‘guesthouse for meditation’ and plays with the beauty of shadows and light in Japanese culture.

Madeline Blanchfield Architect’s Coogee House II could be the pragmatic Australian cousin of Turrell’s House of Light. The home transforms light into space, and gently manipulates the restrictions of the closely-neighboured, steep residential setting into an expansive and friendly family home. Read on/dream on below.

29th November, 2018

The street-facing façade of ‘Coogee House II’ by Madeleine Blanchfield architects. Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

The spectacular light-filled living and dining area seamlessly integrating outdoor spaces. Photo – Robert Walsh.

The couryard.Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

The kitchen. Photo – Robert Walsh.

Living and dining spaces. Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

The bathroom. Photo – Robert Walsh.

Photo – Robert Walsh.

The bedroom. Photo – Robert Walsh.

Miriam McGarry
Thursday 29th November 2018

The Coogee II home performs gentle acts of magic – conjuring space on a crowded block, borrowing views on a hemmed-in site, and delivering maximum impact on a tight budget. Architect Madeline Blanchfield explains, ‘the house seeks to create a sense of spaciousness and outlook on a difficult site which is steep, long, narrow, has a mono-directional view and is surrounded by many adjoining neighbours.’ Through manipulating light and space, the home has been designed to feel expansive and generous.

Madeline describes that the client’s brief was for a ‘robust and livable home for a young family’ with ‘light-filled and uplifting spaces, and calm materiality.’ The physical constraints of the site were overcome through the introduction of double height courtyards that invite in northern light, and offers a sense of elevation and expansion without encroaching on neighbouring properties.

These courtyards ‘borrow’ peephole views through the floors of the home, transforming a singular outlook into multiple ways of seeing the Coogee coastline. Madeline also explains how the layers of ‘open and glassy spaces on the lower level step down the site and minimise the perceived steepness.’ The indoor-outdoor spaces also bring the landscape into the home, and roof planting further connects the home to its environment.

A sense of light and spaciousness is also encouraged by the materials palette, of white-painted brickwork and rough-cut stone. The upper bedroom floor is shrouded with moveable screens that lend a sense of privacy and containment, in contrast to the open and expansive courtyards. These perforated screens allow light-flow and views out, cast changing shadows throughout the day, and glow softly at night. Again, the architect leverages light into new forms – this time through shifting textures.

The home also uses light as a low-energy strategy. The orientation and sun-shading determined the layout of the home, maximising thermal mass and cross ventilation. The aesthetic form of the home is directly informed by the passive solar design – and aligning with Japanese writer Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s argument that ‘the quality that we call beauty…must always grow from the realities of life.’

While the beauty of this home is undeniable, the true success of the design is how well it supports family life. Madeline sums up, ‘going back once the family had moved in, being in the living room with the morning sun streaming in and the kids playing in the courtyard was very rewarding. That is, after all, what it’s all about.’

This Week

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Strawberries

Strawberries are back in season, and Julia shows us how to make the most of them, baked in a strawberry galette!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  5 hours ago

Fundraiser

Robin Boyd Collection Furniture Goes Under The Hammer At Heide!

Register now to bid on one-of-a-kind pieces from the design legend later this month, at Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Lucy Feagins
  21 hours ago

News

Dinner And Show With Ella Mittas And Blackhearts & Sparrows!

Experience a three-course Italian dinner and show in this special event.
Amelia Barnes
  18 hours ago

News

Join Lindsay At The MOST Glamorous Magazine Launch!

It’s time to pull out your fancy dresses, for a couture gala at The Windsor’s Grand Ballroom to celebrate Lindsay’s fourth issue.
Miriam McGarry

Events

Your First Look At 'Flowering Now' In Collingwood

Don't miss the second annual Flowering Now immersive installation – open this weekend only!
Amelia Barnes
44.06

Podcast

TDF Talks with Street Artist, Rone

Lucy talks with one of Melbourne's most exciting artists about the evolution of his career, and making seemingly impossible things happen.
Lucy Feagins
  18 hours ago

Architecture

An Elegant Extension To This Federation Home

Source Architects turn a regional Federation property into a light-flooded home with a garden pavilion, all within a year!
Miriam McGarry

Gardens

Will Studd's Sub-Tropical Wonderland In Byron Bay

The cheese mogul's New South Wales garden is a vibrant mix of colours and textures.
Georgina Reid

Interiors

The Dreamiest Kitchens In The World

These incredible Australian kitchens took out four top prizes in the global Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest!

Homes

A 1980s Beachside Brick Home Gets A Dreamy Renovation

Alex Bennett shares her beautifully renovated family home in Suffolk Park, not far from Byron Bay.

Architecture

An All-Seasons Beach House Designed For The Whole Family

Inside Whiting Architects' Dunes house – a beach house to suit up to 14 family members and all weather conditions!
Amelia Barnes

Family

Alison Bell On The Joys And Humiliations Of Working Mum Life

Ashe Davenport talks with the co-creator and star of 'The Letdown' on ABC and Netflix, about turning her parenting struggles into a hit TV s...
Ashe Davenport

News

Will Studd Makes Cheese Dreams Come True!

Where to find Aphrodite Galotyri – Will Studd’s new northern Greek, spreadable cheese that we CANNOT STOP EATING.
Amelia Barnes

Art

Stephen Baker Presents ‘We’re In This Together’

Melbourne artist Stephen Baker opens a new exhibition in Fitzroy.
Amelia Barnes

Art

A Powerful New Photographic Exhibition From Edward Goldner

View stunning images of North West Africa in cinematographer Edward Goldner’s latest photography exhibition, Nājī.
Miriam McGarry

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

Indoor/Outdoor Living At Its Finest!

An 87sqm post-war Queenslander cottage, extended and updated by Owen Architecture.

Architecture

A Coastal Concrete 'Tee' House

An astounding home transformation by Luigi Rosselli Architects in Sydney’s Tamarama.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

A Re-Invigorated Queenslander Cottage

Inside the serene B&B Residence by Brisbane's Hogg & Lamb architectural design practice.

This Week

Art

Stephen Baker Presents ‘We’re In This Together’

Melbourne artist Stephen Baker opens a new exhibition in Fitzroy.
Amelia Barnes

News

Dinner And Show With Ella Mittas And Blackhearts & Sparrows!

Experience a three-course Italian dinner and show in this special event.
Amelia Barnes
  18 hours ago

News

Will Studd Makes Cheese Dreams Come True!

Where to find Aphrodite Galotyri – Will Studd’s new northern Greek, spreadable cheese that we CANNOT STOP EATING.
Amelia Barnes

Gardens

Will Studd's Sub-Tropical Wonderland In Byron Bay

The cheese mogul's New South Wales garden is a vibrant mix of colours and textures.
Georgina Reid

Family

Alison Bell On The Joys And Humiliations Of Working Mum Life

Ashe Davenport talks with the co-creator and star of 'The Letdown' on ABC and Netflix, about turning her parenting struggles into a hit TV s...
Ashe Davenport

Events

Your First Look At 'Flowering Now' In Collingwood

Don't miss the second annual Flowering Now immersive installation – open this weekend only!
Amelia Barnes

Art

A Powerful New Photographic Exhibition From Edward Goldner

View stunning images of North West Africa in cinematographer Edward Goldner’s latest photography exhibition, Nājī.
Miriam McGarry

Homes

A 1980s Beachside Brick Home Gets A Dreamy Renovation

Alex Bennett shares her beautifully renovated family home in Suffolk Park, not far from Byron Bay.

News

Join Lindsay At The MOST Glamorous Magazine Launch!

It’s time to pull out your fancy dresses, for a couture gala at The Windsor’s Grand Ballroom to celebrate Lindsay’s fourth issue.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Strawberries

Strawberries are back in season, and Julia shows us how to make the most of them, baked in a strawberry galette!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  5 hours ago

Interiors

The Dreamiest Kitchens In The World

These incredible Australian kitchens took out four top prizes in the global Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest!

Fundraiser

Robin Boyd Collection Furniture Goes Under The Hammer At Heide!

Register now to bid on one-of-a-kind pieces from the design legend later this month, at Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Lucy Feagins
  21 hours ago

Architecture

An All-Seasons Beach House Designed For The Whole Family

Inside Whiting Architects' Dunes house – a beach house to suit up to 14 family members and all weather conditions!
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

An Elegant Extension To This Federation Home

Source Architects turn a regional Federation property into a light-flooded home with a garden pavilion, all within a year!
Miriam McGarry
44.06

Podcast

TDF Talks with Street Artist, Rone

Lucy talks with one of Melbourne's most exciting artists about the evolution of his career, and making seemingly impossible things happen.
Lucy Feagins
  18 hours ago

Similar Stories

Architecture

Indoor/Outdoor Living At Its Finest!

An 87sqm post-war cottage, extended and updated by Owen Architecture.

Architecture

A Coastal Concrete 'Tee' House

An astounding home transformation by Luigi Rosselli Architects in Sydney’s Tamarama.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

A Re-Invigorated Queenslander Cottage

Inside the serene B&B Residence by Brisbane's Hogg & Lamb architectural design practice.