Balmoral House / Ian Moore Architects

© Rocket Mattler

Architect: Ian Moore Architects
Location: Balmoral Beach, , Australia
Project Team: Ian Moore (Principal Architect), Claire Meller (Project Architect), Tina Engelen, Will Fung, Chris Mury
Structural Engineer:Rickard Hails Moretti
Hydraulic Engineer: Waterman AHW Consulting Engineers
Landscape Architect: Material
Planning Consultant: Davis Langdon Australia
Project area: 388 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Rocket Mattler

© Rocket Mattler

This 4 bedroom house is sited on an irregular shaped block of land on the slope above Sydney’s Balmoral Beach. The 2 side boundaries of the site are not parallel and there is a significant diagonal cross fall from southwest to northeast, in addition there are 4 substantial gum trees on the site which have all been retained and integrated into the design of the house.

© Rocket Mattler

Two distinct pavilions have been designed of differing height to respond to the topography and Council height controls. The pavilions follow the alignment of their adjacent boundaries creating a wedge of space between the two. The entry bridge slips between these 2 pavilions into this space and cascades down a grand stair to the plunge pool and deck below. This is treated as external space with the Basalt stone cladding and hardwood decking of the exterior continuing seamlessly through this space and back again to the outside. This is emphasised by the frameless sliding glass entry door, which when closed is almost invisible, thus maintaining the view from the street and entry bridge through this space at all times.

© Rocket Mattler

It is only when one passes through the stone clad reveals of the openings within this space that you are officially inside. The materials change from external to internal at these thresholds, all of which have no doors, again to emphasise the physical and visual connections across this space.

© Rocket Mattler

The western pavilion contains the main bedroom and ensuite on the upper level, with a small roof terrace above the entry space. The middle level mezzanine is a study/music room which overlooks the double height dining area. The large vertical opening to the main stair allows views to Middle Harbour from this level.

© Rocket Mattler

The lower level of this pavilion houses the kitchen/dining/living areas, with the laundry and guest bathroom being contained within the oak clad kitchen pod.

cross section

The eastern pavilion contains children’s bedrooms and bathrooms at the upper level, a second living area and garage on the middle level, with self contained guest accommodation, gymnasium and wine cellar on the lower level. The 2 living areas are the only spaces that are at the same level across the 2 pavilions which allow them to be linked by a large elevated northeast facing timber deck. Set between these 2 living areas is the plunge pool.

floor plan

The Basalt stone used for the exterior cladding is also used for the floors to all living spaces and bathrooms. All joinery is in American Oak, while the window and sliding door frames, louvres and cladding to steel beams and columns is bronze anodised aluminium.

Cite: "Balmoral House / Ian Moore Architects" 02 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
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  • jj

    i like it.
    nice materials and nice colours

  • Tony

    I like it too! Maybe a a better day for the photography would’ve helped the cause especially in shot one….contrast?