Philosophers' House

A renovation to the rear of an existing house sitting high on the ridge near Manly Dam and looking East towards the sea. The front elevation of the house is relatively unchanged, while the rear of the house is defined by a large new covered rear deck straddling an exposed sandstone rock shelf allowing access and view to the rear.
The project brief initially involved reconfiguration of living spaces, a new deck and better connection to the back yard, however, as it evolved, the project came to be defined more by a qualitative character shift in the way that the house operates.
Environmentally there is a 5KW PV system, water tanks, Low VOC finishes, ceiling fans, operable shading to all west facing windows and lots of natural ventilation
From a building perspective, the new work is a significant improvement in the quality of the house. The builder invested considerable time in carefully working through the hardwood details. Exposed hardwood structural members are lovingly joined. New blackbutt doors, windows and screens give a beautiful sense of warmth and connection. There is extensive use of blackbutt in the joinery as a way of integrating it into the broader material palette.
Philosophers’ House represents the creation of a quiet private world in which the members of the family can coexist in close proximity to each other, while also engaged in a range of different activities. There is space for cooking, reading, gathering and working. Doors and screens can be opened or closed to connect and separate the different activities. There is a deliberately blurred line between inside and outside. The rear deck, with its East facing lookout and outdoor cooking area, is in many ways the major space in the house.

Architect : Matt Elkan Architect

Project Team : Matt Elkan, Sam Horspool

Builder : Lars Fisher Constructions

Landscape Architect : Lindy Hulton Larson

Engineer : SDA – Charles Blumer

Joinery : Luke Geercke

Lighting : Tovo

Photographs : Simon Whitbread

Awards || Publications

2020 MBA NSW Joint Winner House Alterations and Additions $800k - $900k (Oikos Construction)

2020 MBA NSW Housing 'Best Use of Timber' (Oikos Construction)

Houses Magazine - Issue 137

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