Sandcastle by Luigi Rosselli Architects and ALWILL Interiors

  • Located in Sydney’s Point Piper, Sandcastle is a family affair, born from a design collaboration between Luigi Rosselli and his son Raffaello Rosselli.

    Sandcastle sits on a steep, sandy slope some would consider too challenging to build on – so challenging, “even a mountain goat would struggle,” architect Luigi Rosselli reflects. With its forty-five-degree incline and the addition of a sewer main running through the middle of the block, Luigi and his son Raffaello knew they had their work cut out for them. Still, these factors didn’t discourage their eager young clients looking to build a unique family home.

    The home takes on the name ‘Sandcastle’ for a good reason; its towering, ‘castle-like’ appearance over the streetscape, robust and light-coloured materials and the sandy terrain the home is built on. One of the most taxing elements of construction was working with the sand due to its nature and its ability to ‘behave like a fluid’ if it isn’t stabilised.

    The majority of the sand was excavated to make way for the home and then stored on-site in large sandbags before being used to reshape the site’s topography and form. Instead of constructing retaining walls to hold the sand in place, Raffaello Rosselli opted for layers of geofabric between the sand, creating a base for the native landscaping by Dangar Barin Smith.

    The three-storey home can be entered via a partially-hidden gate on the street level next to the garage. A small landing with a wrought-iron balustrade offers a place to take in the water views before embarking on the climb to the house via the steep garden staircase or the lift. With the three levels raised significantly above ground level, each storey invites the glimmering vistas of Rose Bay into the home through openings framed by brick sun screens and external shutters.

    Luigi Rosselli Architects engaged longtime collaborators ALWILL Interiors to oversee the inside of the home. The sandy site informed the interiors’ neutral, creamy colour palette and is translated through sand-toned masonry in the home’s hallways and main living areas, providing a cohesive link with the exterior. White walls, white linen sheers, American Oak timber veneer and Chamoisee floorboards from Tongue n Groove complete the timeless and hardwearing framework of the home.

    A contemporary double-sided fireplace subtly seperates the dining room from the living, featuring two Carl Hansen + Son CH25 chairs and the Lambert & Fils Waldorf Suspension Triple light.

    Other pieces in the main living space include the grazia&co Reeno bench, Walter Knoll Tama coffee table and yellow Cappellini Sofa With Arms armchair. Luigi Rosselli Architects specified Vitrocsa windows throughout the home.

    The kitchen, dining and family living space takes up the middle floor, set against the recognisable Sydney backdrop of boats bobbing on blue water. A contemporary double-sided fireplace subtly distinguishes the dining room from the living, featuring an eclectic mix of Australian and Nordic-designed and made pieces.

    A subtle mid-century influence is a consistent thread in Luigi Rosselli Architects’ projects, revealed in Sandcastle on the balcony through the low-lying roof and pilotis. On the other side of the living space, the father and son team designed a clever courtyard with a flat surface, offering the children a place to play away from the sloping landscape.

    Luigi and Raffaelo Rosselli have made the impossible possible with their latest residential project, Sandcastle. Working on a site where nature proves no easy feat, the father and son team have made way for a spectacular place for a young family to call home that reflects the coast’s sun and sand.

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