Four storey sustainable home at a Sydney waterside suburb


Made with precise coordination to construct the structural element, this sustainable home is carefuly created to stand out in the area of Sydney Water sewer

This contemporary new-build, designed by Fox Johnston Architects and built with meticulous attention to detail by SQ Projects, is an example of construction excellence and a form of sustainable home. Comprised of four storeys cut into a very steep sandstone site, and with limited access and neighbouring buildings directly on the boundaries, this was a project that required careful planning and precision building.

But these weren’t the only challenges. SQ Projects had to carry out construction over a Sydney Water sewer main which required concrete encasement in very close proximity to the top of the driveway that leads into the garage.

Designed for multigenerational living, this house resolves a difficult sandstone ridge site through the creation of a podium base consisting of a garage and a clever two-level, dual-key apartment suite over which rests a two-storey dwelling of light-filled spaces clustered around gardens and courtyards.

The house was also designed to encourage low energy use through the incorporation of sustainable design features such as its reliance on thermal mass, orientation and the placement of courtyard gardens to allow natural light and ventilation for indoor air temperature control. It is also equipped to be 92 per cent off-the-grid through the inclusion of solar panels and battery storage, rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse.

The architecture consists of a striking mix of off-form concrete, polished structural slabs, painted face brickwork, birch veneers, Accoya-framed timber windows, cedar batten screening, aluminium window canopies and heavily textured render. Many of the finishes within the house are structural elements, increasing the challenge and need for precise services coordination during the construction phase.

Located in Birchgrove, a waterside suburb in Sydney’s Inner West, the home, known as Ballast Point House, overlooks Mort Bay and captures views of the city skyline. The view of the home from the street is just as impressive, with its sleek lines, distinctive angularity and eye-catching finishes.

The judges said this of the breathtaking, multi-level home: “A very interesting project on a tight site with deep excavation into rock. This initially caused a few drainage problems but this was rectified. The house has impressive detailing and materials have been blended well with great skill and expertise. The house satisfied the client’s expectations.”

Since its inception in 2010, SQ Projects has evolved from a one-man operation into a highly regarded building company offering a wide range of services, including construction, design, development and project management. With over 25 years of experience in successfully delivering a broad array of challenging, high-quality residential projects, founder and director Joe Sidoti has steadily and strategically built a team comprised of 13 experienced, dedicated and passionate trade and building professionals. This team brings to every project all the required skills and 180 years of combined experience.

The quality of the skills base and the breadth of the team’s experience can all be seen in Ballast Point House, which was built to the architect’s exacting standards. The result is a home that successfully resolves all of the challenges posed by the demanding site, embodies the homeowner’s respect for family and nature, and adds a noteworthy piece of architecture to the suburb — one that has been shortlisted for a raft of design awards.

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