There aren’t many southern Australian properties with two large palm trees on entry, so architect Kiril Manolev, principal of Manolev Associates Architects, felt passionate about retaining these in a recent project.
‘It was inconceivable for me that the decades old Bangalow palms and [existing] oleander cluster be removed,’ he says. ‘They give the site a unique identity, and provided the scale for the future house to follow.’
Original plans were submitted to council and approved, but the owners ended up selling the property before construction could begin (in part due to the long approvals process). Luckily for Kiril (and the trees!), the architect knew someone looking to buy in the area, and when he showed them the plans, they decided to buy the property!
Kiril’s design overall embraces the property’s sloping site and features prominent, landscaped terraced areas. ‘For me the two Bangalow palms contained the spirit of the site and were the biggest asset of the new house,’ he says.
Concrete was chosen as the house’s main material, partially due to bushfire regulations, and partially due to an underlying Japanese architecture influence.
‘The key inspiration for the design approach was the relationship between a Japanese garden and the architecture – the interplay between the angularity of the architecture and the curvaceous forms of nature,’ Kiril says.
His favourite element of the project, nicknamed the Whisper House, is the way this satisfies the ‘two most important aspects of zen…austere sublimity and subtle profundity.’
‘The stillness of the surrounding gardens contribute to the atmosphere of serenity and tranquillity. The house is physically there, but it whispers of its existence; hence the name.’
With filtered views of Middle Harbour, living in this house is like being on a permanent holiday!