Night Sky House Blue Mountains, New South Wales Home, Australian Real Estate, Architecture, NSW Property Photos
Night Sky House in Blue Mountains, NSW
27 Mar 2023
Architects: Peter Stutchbury Architecture
Location: Blue Mountains, New South Wales 2785, Australia
Photos: Brett Boardman Studio
Night Sky House, New South Wales
Night Sky, designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, stands on a long, narrow block overlooking Blackheath Golf Course. From the street, it has a quiet presence, in no hurry to reveal itself – there are no obvious clues that this is a house that is both raw and refined; that has strength and power but, at the same time, a delicacy that speaks of the human hand.
It is one that feels both ancient and thoroughly contemporary; that aims for far more than the normal house yet is practical and liveable and eminently adaptable; and that, above all, elicits moments of magic and a sense of joy.
The front door opens to the main living/dining area and kitchen, all within a soaring 7.5-metre-high parabolic vault. Built of bricks, recycled when an apartment building in western Sydney was demolished, the vaulted room is reminiscent of a cathedral yet feels embracing and welcoming rather than imposing. And of a domestic scale, albeit an extraordinarily voluminous one.
Unusual, too, is the unglazed retractable oculus set high up within with vault, positioned to capture optimal views of the southern night skies.
A steel panel opens over it, operated by the flick of a switch. While designed primarily for night-time use, it also acts, when open during the day, as a giant skylight, with the path of the sun tracking across the wall and floor. It has a practical use as well; the house is designed around passive solar principles, with the oculus further functioning as a chimney, drawing hot air out of the house in summer.
On either side of the vaulted room is a wing – the easterly one contains main bedroom and bathroom so you can rise with the sun, according to the architect.
To the west lies a guest bedroom and study or third bedroom with en suite bathroom and separate entrance. A gentle rhythm is set up through the house by the run of arched ceilings – the low curve in each room partly inspired by the Blue Mountains landscape and yet redolent of the ancient world.
The rhythm is set up, too, by the external blade walls running along one wing to form a colonnade, and by the procession of sliding doors between each room. With the doors open, the view is from one end of the house to the other, with part of each room becoming a corridor; closed, each room becomes a sanctuary. Crafted shutters, hand operated by ropes, double as window openings – there’s a sense of engagement with all aspects of the house.
There’s a sense of calm and restraint throughout, partly through the use of a minimal range of materials – recycled brick, concrete, blue gum and a small amount of steel. This can equally be said for the award-winning garden by Sophie Zaccone – an inspired mix of grasses and species native to the area.
With its flexibility of spaces and with main room opening onto a courtyard with lawned area, pond and barbecue area, this is a house that’s made equally for entertainment or for quiet contemplation.
It’s a house that, with its emphasis on passive design as well as hydronic underfloor heating, is comfortable year-round. With its bank of 48 photovoltaic panels, 60,000 litre water tank and provision in the southwest corner of the site for a residential windmill, it’s a house that produces all its own energy and is not reliant on mains water.
It’s a house that, thanks to its thoughtful design, was initially conceived to engage with the universe but, at the same time, has managed to engage with its immediate surroundings and, in doing so, become universal.
Night Sky House in Blue Mountains, New South Wales – Building Information
Design: Peter Stutchbury Architecture – http://www.peterstutchbury.com.au/
Project Team: Peter Stutchbury, Fernanda Cabral, Sobi Slingsby
Builder: Dimark Constructions
Structural engineer: ROC Engineering Design
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW 2785
2 bed, 2 bath, 2+ car
Program: East west linear plan, single-storey house opening to north. Central vaulted space flanked by two wings.
Address: 6 Jubilee Ave, Blackheath NSW 2785
Internal area (approx.): 158 sq m (1,700sq ft)
External area (approx.): 999.1 sq m (10,754 sq ft)
Photography © Brett Boardman & Michael Nicholson, credited
Night Sky House, Blue Mountains, New South Wales images / information received 270323 from Peter Stutchbury Architecture
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
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