A compositional approach – Clovelly

Clovelly House is a confident alteration and addition that celebrates indoor-outdoor Australian coastal living. The original elevated single-storey dwelling was characteristic of the semi-detached homes prevalent in the area. A gabled façade mirrored by its neighbour gives the street impression of one larger house. This trope had become outdated in the quest for better family accommodation.
“In the past, the street frontage of a semi-detached house was designed to present a strong and consistent face towards the street. Our values around houses have changed – we now value the expression of the individual over the cohesive expression of the whole,” explains Hannah Tribe, principal of TRIBE Studio.
The brief called for light, easy living for a busy and lively family of five. By taking a compositional approach to overcome the challenges of the semi, TRIBE creates a new model for this housing type that is both light-filled and space-efficient.
The master bedroom and ensuite now enjoys the street-fronting position with access to a large terrace over the double garage. Children’s rooms are lined up along the north with a walk-through bathroom that provides direct access to the pool. Open-plan living spaces spill into the garden, responding to the family’s love of the outdoors. The rear space that partially encloses an entertaining terrace appears to float over concrete blockwork that steps into the garden.
The striking roof treatment conjures an origami crane. Its architectural language is developed by respecting the original gable. Internally, traditional roof framing is exposed so open ceiling joists add rhythm and mediate the space leading outside. Sculptural clerestory windows drink in northerly light providing a refreshing sense of being both in and outdoors simultaneously.
The material palette and detailing takes its inspiration from the board and batten detailing of the original gables. Honoured with heritage awards for previous projects, TRIBE has crafted a playful and joyous space, imbued with the energy and vitality of the family. The traditional semi has been freed from its dark, introspective original form and now connects to the sun, beach, breeze and garden.

Photography: Katherine Lu

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