Deepwater House / Tobias Partners

Deepwater House by Tobias Partners

On a spectacular site, Deepwater House celebrates its iconic location and the remarkable narrative of a fruitful marriage. Commissioned by a well-travelled couple in their 60’s, the house is a platform – a relaxing place to accommodate family and friends – and a container: a curiosity cabinet for their most treasured possessions.

Perched on the high tide line at Bondi Beach, harsh environmental conditions and limited access dictated the form and fabric of the robust outer shell, which sits quietly among its neighbours on Ben Buckler Point. To counteract the relentless activity outside and achieve design clarity throughout, the design employs a sense of intentional restraint: a consistent material palette allows indoor and outdoor spaces flow seamlessly.

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Divided into a classical-style vertical and horizontal grid, the five levels are treated subtly differently. Ceiling heights vary, and rooms and balconies sit within and project beyond the exoskeleton, an approach that overcomes the site’s modest footprint, helps to capture views, and enables the house to be easily divided into two spacious apartments when guests stay over.

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The deliberately spare interiors feature hand-crafted joinery and hardware. A carefully curated display of paintings, sculptures, furniture and heirlooms evokes memories of travel and family history, with some newly commissioned artworks that converse with the architecture.

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The building also speaks to its landscape: a series of operable devices mediate the threshold, bringing in sea breezes, warm sunshine, salty air and dappled light, resulting in a home that is always naturally comfortable, regardless of the weather.

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A true collaboration between design disciplines and construction experts, every detail is built to the highest standard. The landscape design speaks to the public realm as well as the occupants, with endemic species and hardy palms greening the beachside and street elevations.

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Whether the owners are enjoying time at home together, or have their grandchildren staying over; or hosting casual family dinners or entertaining on a grand scale, this timeless home is always intimate and inviting. And with the ability to function equally well as platform and container, it conveys a precise distillation of this family’s unique narrative.

Architects: Tobias Partners
Project: Deepwater House
Location: Bondi, NSW, Australia
Photography: Justin Alexander

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