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Master_of_Proportion

Villa Veneto, Point Piper The clients had purchased in an area of Sydney where the houses drop steeply down to the harbour foreshore and have magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The challenge of creating a house in this street is to manage the deep land drop off and the blast from the blazing afternoon sun. Instead of garaging at the roof level or setting the house back onto the sloping terrain as was the case with other houses in the street, Michael approached the problem differently—he chose to excavate the site by cutting deeply into the sandstone to form a level platform base for the residence. It was then possible to position the house so that most importantly, light was available on all sides of the house and loggias could be placed facing the sea to block out the westerly summer sun. For the front door to be situated at the level of the living area—which is the way he likes to design— Michael created an anteroom at street level housing a high speed lift. The lift drops down to arrive at a twostorey gallery with high vaulted ceilings, clerestory windows and a paved courtyard. Here in the courtyard is the front door of the home, the purpose of the lift being to transport people from the street to the front door, rather than servicing the floors of the home. From the gallery the harbour can be seen through the courtyard via a glazed wrought iron front door. Alternatively, entry can be made through the doors of the dining room or library which open onto the courtyard. In order to capture light, the dining room has a particular glass sky light cut into the terrace above. However, there was a problem in hanging the clients’ newly purchased heavy chandelier. By skillful design, a ceiling window in the whimsical shape of an ancient ship’s galley was created by Michael with the strength to hang the heavy light fitting and provide useful flooring above. The library has a cozy comfort reflected in the warm tones of English oak panels and solid oak doors designed by Michael. The magnificent wrought iron staircase, with treads and risers of Isernia limestone imported from Italy and handcrafted in Australia, is an original design and runs from the gallery level to the first floor bedrooms above.The large lanai area outside the family room leads down to the water and blinds can be dropped to block out the afternoon sun. Michael recalled coastal pathways to the Aegean Sea visited in Syros in the Greek Islands to create the sweeping landscape and stone steps leading down to Sydney Harbour. The grand classical house designed in the Palladian style has a relaxed feel due to the well proportioned spatial flow throughout the building. All architectural features, doors, wrought iron and balustrades are specific for the house with over 600 detailed working drawings produced over a period of four years. Stone columns and balustrades designed by Michael were made in Europe as were European oak floors and all doors, locks and hinges were crafted to his design. The builder took particular pride in overcoming the challenges of the job sending tradesmen to train overseas and bringing men from Ireland and Germany to work on the site. For his meticulous work on this amazing building project, he was awarded Master Builder of the Year. 207


Master_of_Proportion
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