Tessellated House


Tessellated House is Newport, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, set back from the coast within a narrow band of flat land between the dunes and the steep Eastern slopes of Bilgola Plateau.  

It has street frontages on the Eastern and Western sides, which provide easy access (especially for building), but also some challenges for privacy. For this reason, the ground floor of the house is designed around three key outdoor private spaces that the owners can spill out into according to the time of day and the weather. Massive sandstone walls enclose private gardens on the East and West sides of the house. There is a private courtyard within the centre house facing North and providing outlook from the kitchen and living spaces.

The form of the house is primarily determined  by a consistent linear structural grid in which all rooms are based on modules of the same length and width. This was done for efficiency during the build, but also for visual simplicity. The house is intended to sit within the garden and the setting rather than dominating it.

It is a house which aims to do simple things well. Materials are all referenced from local built or natural precedents. The concrete ground floor provides mass for active and passive heating. Big timber doors and windows offer flexibility for ventilation according to the wind direction and allow the ground floor to engage with the entire block of land. Operable timber screens give the option for privacy or engagement with the street. There are 5KW of PV power and 10 Kl of water storage for on site re-use.

Most importantly, the house provides the social backdrop for a family of cooks, musicians and entertainers. The major goal was to build a house which is at the same time open and enclosed. Public and private in equal measure. A stage and a retreat.


Architect : Matt Elkan Architect

Project Team : Matt Elkan, Sam Horspool

Builder : Avalon Constructions  - Russ Davis

Landscape Architect : Lindy Hulton Larson

Engineer : SDA – Charles Blumer

Joinery : Luke Geercke

Lighting : Tovo

Photographs : Clinton Weaver


Awards || Publications

The Daily Telegraph - August 8, 2020

The Local Project, Project Feature - November 26, 2020



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