Curraghbeena House

By Luigi Rosselli Architects
alterations & additions

Mosman, NSW Australia

By: Luigi Rosselli Architects

Curraghbeena House - Photo by © Justin Alexander

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

The L-shaped contemporary addition to Curraghbeena House embraces the core of the original building’s rooms over 3 storeys to the south, the road alignment to the west and the foreshore building line to the east.

The majority of the large block has been unchanged due to the additions being on 3 levels, minimising its footprint with greater opportunity for soft landscaped area. The design retains the core of the original building, minimising building fabric waste and adapting the home for greater natural daylight and ventilation.

What problems did you have to solve?

The original house suffered from dark internal rooms and is now improved significantly by opening up towards Sirius Cove. The design intentionally contrasts the 1920s original late federation house of face brick with the new additions treated with white plaster and sandstone.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

The project was a successful collaboration by the team lead by Luigi Rosselli & Edward Birch of Luigi Rosselli ArchitectsMoulds Construction Builders, O’Hearn Consultants for Structure, Scarelli Joinery for Joinery and Vladimir Sitta of Terragram for Landscape.

The nature of alterations and additions to an existing house can sometimes stage some unforeseen elements to the construction process. At Curraghbeena this involved an existing fireplace that required the input of the architect, builder, and engineers to solve. The collarborative effort was able to deal with the complexity of the old existing house being on a steep site and the part demolition to make way for the additions. 

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

Environmentally efficient measures have been incorporated either by double glazing and/or external sunscreens; generous eaves and canvas awnings; cross ventilation and controlled afternoon sun penetration. The stairwell also has a chimney effect, drawing hot air up and out of the house. A 10,000L water retention tank has been added for garden irrigation. The design has incorporated all these elements in preference to having air conditioning to any part of the house.

What do you consider to be the benefits of the project for the client, users and the community?

The playful contrast of the old and new involved a sustainable design upgrade to the original building. By providing passive energy efficient facades to the retained core building, the contemporary additions and alterations has delivered a house that does not need any air conditioning to any part of the house.