Perched atop a windswept hill Eagle's Nest commands views of Sydney's far northern beaches in protective shell of style and drama

Eagle's Nest: Location, location yes, but form and style, safety and privacy and dramatic use of materials create three levels of excellence. Photography: Clinton Weaver.
Eagle's Nest: Location, location yes, but form and style, safety and privacy and dramatic use of materials create three levels of excellence. Photography: Clinton Weaver.

Imagine soaring above Sydney's northern beaches admiring the golden sands and the Pacific Ocean and landing atop a modern masterpiece at Collaroy.

The bird's eye view of this contemporary home perched high on a prominent escarpment gives purpose to its title - Eagle's Nest.

Influenced by contemporary Brazilian Modernism, Eagle's Nest aspires to balance and curate the experience of outlook and expansiveness of the site, with privacy and seclusion. The restrained material palette heightens this experience along with the changing dynamic of light and shade.

The ground floor hosts the living, dining, and kitchen all enclosed by large glass sliding doors to the north and east. These give uninhibited 135-degree views of the Pacific, Pittwater, Narrabeen lake and Bilgola Plateau. Retracting the doors provides the coveted internal / external living that Sydney's climate affords year-round.

In contrast to the ground floor's expansiveness the first floor, which houses the bedrooms, frames select views from each space more intimately, subconsciously inviting one to look further into the view.

Capturing views while maintaining privacy was of paramount importance for a site flanked with pubic land and fronted with both a busy pedestrian walkway and vehicular thoroughfare.

Ian Bennett Design Studio's solution came in the form of an operable louvre skin that allows the occupants to mediate privacy and solar access along three facades.

The appearance of the building transforms both internally and externally depending on the openness of the louvres, engaging both occupant and passer-by alike. Working closely in design development with the owner, builder, bushfire consultant and structural engineer, informed the design and ensured all bushfire systems were integrated and concealed, rather than an after-thought and visible. Using proprietary bushfire products and detailing around their requirements allowed for a seamless resolution that was also cost effective.

Compliance with Flame Zone also informed the construction and materials of Eagle's Nest. Using the client's expertise with off-form concrete allowed the floors, walls and soffits to be one material with three different textures; burnished floor, sheet form walls and board form soffits - all requiring no future maintenance while providing a disparate background for light and shade to interact.

To contrast the expanse of concrete, rough laid recycled brickwork (recycled from the demolition of the existing house) painted satin white, provides a subtle backdrop for the matt black flat plate steel staircase that suspends from the first floor.

Externally, a weathered copper box sits atop the concrete structure and angles due north for optimum solar access with extruded black steel boxes framing views and providing protection to the first floor windows from the harsh environment.