The idea behind Night Sky came from its late-owner, Basil Borun. As an astronomer, triple-major engineer, and a Type 2 diabetic who relied on his wheelchair, he set out to create a personal and accessible two-bedroom abode, that could ‘take him to the stars’ without leaving his living room.
This was the brief he posed to architect Peter Stutchbury, who embraced the challenges of designing the ambitious dream home at 6 Jubilee Avenue, Blackheath – the highest town in the Blue Mountains region.
Both ancient and contemporary references are reflected in Night Sky’s striking structure. Basil was inspired by a Romanian 19th-century ammunition bunker, built of raw brick with arches, and the soaring 7.5-metre-high ceiling feels like something you’d find in a medieval cathedral.
‘To try to summarise this house is virtually impossible,’ Modern House principal and listing agent Marcus Lloyd-Jones says. ‘Walking into the space for the first time is difficult to describe.’
But the true hero feature is the huge oval oculus (hidden behind a retractable steel panel!) that turns the home into its own magical observatory. The open-air skylight allows for sunlight and air flow across the day, and it’s been carefully positioned in the open-plan living, kitchen and dining room to capture the best views of the constellations by night!
The bedrooms, ensuite, and office all overlook the award-winning native gardens designed by Sophie Zaccone, with walls of glass that offer an intriguing peek into the minimalistic spaces from the outside. A calming material palette of recycled bricks, concrete, timber, and brass fill the interiors with character, while also providing thermal mass to absorb and release heat all-year-round.
The listing reveals that Night Sky has been designed to last for more than a century, as an off-grid house that ‘looks to the future’ with an impressive list of sustainable features. It collects all its own water and produces all its own energy, harnessing passive design principles and a bank of 48 solar panels.
It took almost three years to build the incredible home, which was completed in 2020. Not long afterwards, it won the prestigious Robin Boyd Award. But following Basil’s passing last year, Marcus says the house in now in need of its next custodians who can cherish the ‘wonderful architectural legacy’ he’s left behind.