Private Developer
Glenelg North, South Australia
Family residence

The Cygnet Court Residence is situated on a site that enabled a building to connect the Patawalonga (river & marina) to the sea, both physically and metaphorically. It is a house of relationships and contrasts to both meet the family’s needs and play with the disparate connections through views, weather and building substrate.

Of the 700SQM site over half of it is air rights over the water enabling a natural delineation mark between the relationships of the sea versus river. The concept exploited the idea of the tension of this with a central void and sculptural stair allowing varied levels and floor to floor heights to come from it, each reinforcing it’s role in the hierarchy of space and varying it’s relationships both internally and externally aligned with both its’ program and relationship to the natural context beyond.

Creating intimacy through condensing space while celebrating its grandeur at the transition points and formal parts of the program. Celebrating conflict with pools floating over bedrooms and “accidental” spaces being drawn in to become valuable parts of the whole.

The project was blessed with both a client that demanded something unique and customized to them and a builder procured in a fashion that enabled attention to quality and resolution rather than time and exposure.

Hames Sharley was brought to the project to initially make subtle changes to an existing approval which turned into a 4 year intimate and collaborative journey with both owner and builder working on the house from Planning, Architecture, Interior Design and furniture selection. This intimacy and involvement was the principal enabler in the delivery of an incredibly interesting series of spaces and fine level detailing. It seems at the time of writing that the term “house” falls short even” home” seems not quite adequate to properly define this creation.

Further to this relationship the consulting team working together with the manipulation of a site part water / part land demanded attention to detail and outside of the box solutions.

Sustainably the house presents a grand outcome on a tiny footprint. It proves what can be achieved within tight urban confines with plenty of lifestyle space and amenity. Solar panels, natural daylight, water collection have all been integrated around a technical spine that is more akin to an office BMS system.

This is a showcase of big things on a small base. Integrating the natural context of sea and river, winter and summer, gully breezes and sea breezes. Offering fortifying shelter when needed and transforming to an open multileveled pavilion to let nature pass through it whenever climatically available.

The house minimizes the need for additional lighting with its central void and expanses of double glazing, in yet protects the glazing with canter levered landings and uses the void to collect and dispel heat as required or to redistribute warmth.

It is a grand gesture that can entertain hundreds in yet it is as comfortable scaled back to create a nurturing home for its family of four.