Natural inclinations – house in Bush near Sydney, Australia designed by Albert Hoggett

Natural inclinations – house in Bush near Sydney, Australia designed by Albert Hoggett – Brief Article

On a bushland site near Sydney, architect Albert Hoggett has designed a pair of houses that hug the steep terrain and embrace the leafy panorama. The internal spaces unfold level by level as one descends, revealing a contemporary aesthetic suited to stylish informal living.

ON THIS STEEP SOUTH FACING SITE one of the main problems was light and how to maximise it. For a start, the surrounding bushland is lush and dense — beautiful to look at but highly adept at blocking the sun. The topography casts a shadow, too. From the road, the wedge-shaped property descends a full eight metres to where the site was excavated for the pair of dwellings. While the main windows frame the views, they necessarily face away from the north light.

Albert’s solution was to use the roof as the one of the main sources of much-needed natural light. High slot windows, clerestory windows and skylights — strategically placed at various levels as the buildings descend the slope — channel natural light into the inner reaches of each residence.

Externally, these glazed sections and varied roof forms help break down the visual impact of the houses. Colorbond roofing and bagged brickwork are neutrally toned to complement the hues of the bush, and the deck areas provide a further visual connection between the buildings and their surrounds. Seen from the road, the buildings present a series of fascinating roof forms including corrugated curves, concrete pebble-topped planes and glazed angles.

“The concept was to embrace the bushland setting while creating minimal impact from the street,” says Albert. “The only structures above road level are the garages — all other building works are below road level. The main street appearance is that of the roof forms, so they needed to be interesting and contextually fitting to the site.”

The client briefed Albert to design two houses, one to live in and the other to sell. Given the idiosyncrasies of the terrain and the irregular shape of the block, the two buildings differ markedly in layout while employing the same architectural language. Internally the emphasis is on timber floors and trimmings, with split level living spaces and boldly coloured feature walls. Outside, the timber theme carries through to details such as the window and door frames and slender timber balustrades. Here, the dominant sandstone-look blockwork bases and bagged brick walls stamp the houses with solid, urban personalities.

Internally, site considerations more or less determined the arrangement of the living spaces. In the west house, a couple of steps down from the entrance takes one through to the kitchen and an open plan living/dining area. Opposite the kitchen, stairs lead down to the bedroom level. In the east house the living and dining spaces are in a split level relationship, while the kitchen and family room lead directly from the entrance. Both street-level garages have internal access to the level below. In each house, the main bedroom is at the lower extreme with a private balcony looking out to the bush.

As the site was difficult to excavate, the size of the subground level needed to be kept to a minimum. In response, Albert designed both bedroom wings to cantilever over the sandstone-look blockwork base — used in aesthetic reference to an existing sandstone retaining wall.

These two houses, snugly nestled in their bushland setting, are fine examples of how new buildings can be tailored to blend with existing natural features. By selecting subdued, neutral colours, and employing several methods for breaking down the visual impact of each building, the architect has ensured the dwellings complement the environment, and vice versa.


Albert Hoggett

Architects Pty Ltd

3 Montague Street

Balmain NSW 2041

Tel: (02) 9555 5588

Fax: (02) 9555 5844



Prestige residential projects, large scale a terations and additions, commerc al and tourism projects



Albert Hoggett, Richard Stone, Simon Owen

Lynden Constructions Pty Ltd


Engineer Richmond Ross

Engineers Pty Ltd Landscaping client Interiors Albert Hogged

Architects Ply Ltd


Roofing Curved – Colorbond Custom Orb: awnings – Colorbond Mini Crb; flat – concrete, with Radcon Pacific Waterproofing, nepean pebbles as ballast External walls Boral Split Face blockwork in Sahara’ bagged brickwork, Dulux Xl0 Internal walls Rendered masonry Windows/Doors Architectural Joinery wro, Pitella hardware Flooring backoutt, tung Oil finish: granite tiles, Eureka 300 mm square terracotta tiles Kitchen Terrazzo banchtoo; llve ss cooktop, oven Bathroom Black granite & Vic ash veneer; Fowler basins Heating Delmar rc aircon External elements Ronstan rigging wire and fittings; as balustrades Other Custom made fixed furniture and kitchen & bathroom cabinets by Peter Maher, Finemaster Pty Ltd


Design, approval 6 months Construction 10 months


Michael Nicholson

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