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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

The Books House in Sydney, Australia by Luigi Rosselli Architects

June 11th, 2018 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Luigi Rosselli Architects

A Calligrapher handed three books to his wife, she placed them in a random stack on the table… “We want The Books House”… they said.

The Architect understood that the books were not only a reference to a home he had previously designed named The Six Degrees of Separation, but also to the ledges and shelves of Sydney-Hawkesbury sandstone outcrops that surface on the steep escarpments of the northern side of Sydney Harbour, including the block of land owned by the Calligrapher and the Businesswoman.

Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

The Roman Emperor Hadrian had his study built with a moat circling it that he used to swim around. Our Calligrapher has his study levitating over the pool to keep his ink running, Image Courtesy © Edward Birch

Weathered rock stratums have been replaced by off-form concrete slabs with soft edges, scissoring above a monolithic sandstone storey for the house.  An elliptical concrete stair forms the pivot point of each floor of the house, anchoring them to the steep escarpment; the stair also wraps around a lift core that descends, mineshaft-like to link the rest of the house to the garage level.

The sandstone walls of the ground floor taper at the top to take loads of the concrete slabs. The same sandstone forms the crazy-paved terrace built over the garage roof. The first floor contains the bedrooms and the second floor contains the main living spaces, Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

The wood grain of the concrete formwork contrasts with the curved frameless glass balustrade and the neat brass top handrail. This is the view that the owner sees in the morning when they get out of bed, Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

The rock is integral to the house: from the basement to the uppermost level of the home, where the sandstone formations provide an ancient geological scenography.  Both the living room and the Calligrapher’s study have views of the rock face with its gently curving set of steps, expertly carved from the stone that climb to an old Frangipani tree.  They also look out over a small swimming pool and a cave excavated into the cliff side, perfect for meditation and longing for a Buddha.

The roof access steel door by All Metal Project is also the east oriented skylight that provides daylight to the living room. The roof is a solar machine with PV panels, solar hot water units and solar pool heating, Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

The study bookshelves face the ancient rock shelves and ledges that emerged in this steep escarpment, Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

This home was designed following a reading of The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang, which is a must read in order to gain a greater understanding of the dwelling culture in China, this explains the “Dragon” path that meanders to the front door and is not just necessary to make climbing the steep hill less laborious but also to soften the approach to the house and abandon the straight geometry of the road.

Luigi Rosselli and Kristina Sahlestrom have learned much from the Chinese building culture over the course of this project’s development, and The Books house is an embodiment and crystallisation of this ancient culture in stone and concrete.

One can avoid the dragon by tunnelling from the garage to the lift through a sandstone cut corridor. The ancient history of Gondwanaland is written on the walls and explains the unique topography of the site. The stone appears again at the top of the house in a recurrent “leitmotif” of this unique site, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

The oval stair leads to the oval hall. Custom, full-height, curved doors lead to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Few builders can achieve such fine execution of complex shapes and details. Evolve Building Group must be complimented, Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

The off-form concrete ring beam is also the base for the gas fireplace. The same concrete timber board formwork reflects the Porters Finished Floors, smoked, limed and brushed American Oak, timber floorboards in the ceiling, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

On the other side of the stair and the skylight shaft: the living room with a fireplace and collection of furniture around a Robyn Cosgrove silk rug, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

Pivoting another bookcase one can find the living room level powder room, with a concrete basin and bench. The dark timber wall is the back of the bookshelf, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

Romaine Alwill balanced the textures of the living room materials: the hard concrete, the soft ‘S’ curve curtains and the timber bookshelves, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

Opposite the fireplace, through a moveable bookcase, one may be admitted to the Calligrapher’s study. Bookshelves form the walls of this room. The honeycomb acrylic shelves glow by night to aid in finding the desired tome, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

Image Courtesy © Justin Alexander

Ascending by lift or via the stairs, one climbs the elliptically shaped stairwell, attracted by the natural light, with a coarse off-form concrete core on one side and smooth set plaster, spray painted walls on the other. Hands and feet brush the warmth of oak timber, Image Courtesy © Prue Roscoe

Image Courtesy © Edward Birch

Image Courtesy © Edward Birch

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

Image Courtesy © Luigi Rosselli Architects

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Categories: Autocad, House, Residential, Swimming Pool, Villa

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