The Books House, Mosman Contemporary Real Estate, NSW Property Pool, Australian Architecture Images

The Books House in Mosman

Contemporary NSW Home with Pool design by Luigi Rosselli Architects, Australia

18 Apr 2018

The Books House in NSW

Design: Luigi Rosselli Architects

Location: Mosman, Sydney NSW, Australia

The Books House

The Books House in Mosman
The concrete structure of each floor is oriented differently to suit the views, and also maximise the distances from the neighbours on each side. The ‘layers’ are reminiscent of a stack of books, plied up on a ‘table’ of sandstone. The sandstone was excavated and quarried from the site and later painstakingly chiselled into shape by the stone mason, French Stonemasonry – photo © Justin Alexander

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 Books House in Mosman
The dining room and the kitchen are spacious enough to have another sitting room facing the view and the balcony. The client drinks tea in that open and breezy observation deck – photo © Prue Roscoe

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.

The Books House in Mosman
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 – photo © Justin Alexander

The Books House in Mosman
A pre-existing Frangipani tree was lost and lonely at the top of the cliff. The stonemason cut a sweeping stair with a stone chainsaw and reconnected the top of the garden to the living room level terrace. A heavy hemp rope held by brass uprights is an Alpinist’s helping hand – photo © Justin Alexander

Weathered rock stratums have been replaced by off-form concrete slabs with soft edges, scissoring above a monolithic sandstone storey for the house.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 Books House in Mosman The Books House in Mosman
Image to the right: 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 to the left: 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 – photos © Prue Roscoe

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 Books House in Mosman The Books House in Mosman
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 – photos © Edward Birch

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.

The Books House in Mosman The Books House in Mosman
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 – photos © Justin Alexander

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.

The Books House in Mosman The Books House in Mosman
Image to the right: 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 to the left: Romaine Alwill balanced the textures of the living room materials: the hard concrete, the soft ‘S’ curve curtains and the timber bookshelves – photos © Prue Roscoe

The Books House – Building Information

Location: Mosman, Sydney NSW
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project Architect: Kristina Sahlestrom, David Mitchell, Carl Rutherfoord
Interior Designer: Romaine Alwill of Alwill Interiors Pty Ltd
Builder: Evolve Building Group Pty Ltd
Structural Consultant: Rooney & Bye Pty Ltd
Joiner: Contemporary Furniture Design
Zinc Roofing: Sterland Roofing Pty Ltd
Stonemasonry: French Stonemasonry
Brass work: Warringah Aluminium
Swimming Pool: Wright Pools
Canvas Awnings: Creative Covers and Awnings
Fireplace: Real Flame
Aluminium Windows: Evolution Window Systems
Landscaper: William Dangar

The Books House in Mosman
photo © Edward Birch

© Edward Birch
© Justin Alexander
© Prue Roscoe

The Books House in Mosman images / information received 180418

Location: Mosman, Sydney

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