Bronte House

December 7, 2023

Architect: Tribe Studio Architects
Builder: Robert Plumb Build

Location: Bronte NSW

Nestled upon the former site of a quarry, Bronte House transcends the typical coastal residence. It transforms into a mesmerising study in light and design efficiency, shaped by the unique challenges and opportunities of its location. In close collaboration with the architect Tribe Studio and lead contractor Robert Plumb Build, Partridge helped to deliver this remarkable home.

Partridge played a crucial role in the structural design of Bronte House, and one of the primary challenges was the home’s steep slope. The house descends six stories from its southern to northern boundaries and is tightly confined by adjacent buildings. Up to six metres of excavation was undertaken into Bronte’s loose sands along each of the side boundaries and beneath the existing sandstone retaining wall at the south boundary in order to construct the new swimming pool and lower ground level. This was achieved by Partridge’s careful design of hand-augured and rock-anchored contiguous pile shoring walls, for which pile diameters as small as 250 millimetres were designed to address the tight spatial requirements between the house and the boundary.

Raw concrete slabs were used throughout the home. Without the aid of floor and ceiling finishes to hide imperfections, Partridge paid meticulous attention to the reinforcement detailing within the slabs to manoeuvre around recesses and ensure that the concrete achieved the architectural intent. Particular consideration was given to the detailing of the balcony slab edges, in which galvanised reinforcement was used to achieve the ultra-slim edges exposed to the coastal elements.

The robust feel of the home is further expressed within the structure at the rear of the property. Exposed monolithic concrete elements span and intersect to give support to the garage at street level, including a ‘hanging’ concrete wall spanning over the swimming pool below.

The light-coloured face bricks used for the home’s loadbearing walls give the appearance of a sandstone block carved from the elements. Partridge advised on the structural possibilities of the hit and miss brickwork screens that were positioned carefully throughout the home by the architects to filter sunlight, generating dappled light patterns that instil a sense of calm and serenity within the interior spaces.  The same brick was utilised in a challenging teardrop shape forming the centre of the feature spiral stairs, for which Partridge assessed the structural stability of the curved brick forms to span two levels and also act as support for the floating stair treads.

Partridge is thrilled to have contributed to the honest expression of the structural elements within Bronte House, in order to create this robust and monumental home that is both aesthetically stunning and environmentally conscious.

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