One of a row of three houses designed at the same time, The Hilltown House in the Sydney beachside suburb of Bronte, is a triumph of planning, observation, integration and finesse.
Designing more than one house at a time is a rare opportunity for an architect-so when the commission to design three residences in a row, in the eastern Sydney suburb of Bronte was offered to Walter Barda, he made the most of his passion for integrated landscaping and abstract forms.
Perched on a hill facing south-east, taking in the views of Bronte beach and the sea, it has the strength of a fortress but remains soft and organic where it counts.
Many years in the making, the site for The Hilltown House initially attracted its owners purely by virtue of its unique location.
In their eyes, Bronte represents the ideal waterside suburb, with a beautiful family-friendly beach and close proximity to Bondi's vibrant scene but far enough away from the famous beach to escape the crowds. An oceanside Sydney retreat brimming with modern delights.
Dramatic internal “street stairs” connect a sequence of voids and private rooms. The upper level living areas feature intricate timber joineries within a sculptural, curvilinear building form.
Thanks to the highly refined master plan and flowing landscape design developed by Walter Barda Design, the finished house enjoys immense privacy and the views are framed by advanced greenery and carefully positioned walls. The terrace of the house with a pool and views over the beach to the headland and the Tasman Sea.
"There has to be that element of delight that sets it above the mundane or the good solution and elevates it to the realm of a piece of art — something beyond the day-to-day," says architect Walter Barda.
"We used a lot of calming shades in blue and green, but in the family room, where more timber was used, we placed a greater emphasis on warmer tones," says interior designer Kirsten Bookallil.
The New Guinea rosewood curved staircase is a key feature of the house. "Meticulous thought had been applied to every part of the design [by Barda] and my job was to work with Walter’s structure, not to dominate it," says Bookallil.