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Well-rounded – apartment block by architect Nicholas Solomon

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this design responds to the views and properties nearby

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Sometimes it is the simplest concept that results in the most attractive outcome. Imagine a building design led by a curved, corner site – then add a modern, high-end penthouse as a graceful echo of that form.

This contemporary penthouse crowns a mixed-use apartment and retail block by architect Nicholas Solomon. The shape of the building, and in turn the penthouse, was dictated by several key factors – the rounded street corner, a need to maximise water views to all five apartments along one side of the building, and the council requirement to include a view corridor across the upper levels to retain sea views for the neighbours behind, says Solomon.

"Seen from above, the resulting shape of the building is much like a soft triangle, and the exposed top floor of this two-level penthouse echoes that geometric form."

With the beach views to the southwest and a run of windows to all apartments along the west side of the building, the design had to mitigate the heat of the sun, at its most powerful from this direction.

"This was handled in three ways," says Solomon. "Aluminium blinds and interior curtains provide precise control over solar penetration, while the set-back individual balconies offer further protection."

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This penthouse – one of two in the apartment building – has three bedrooms, a laundry and entry on the lower floor, with the open-plan living, dining and kitchen areas on the floor above.

"We also took our design cues for the interior from the building's triangular form," says Solomon. "All the units combine soft curves, reflecting the site and the curve of the beachfront, with more rectilinear forms, required to optimise sightlines to the sea from all apartments."

The interiors on the upper level are open plan to ensure beach views are seen throughout. There are only two freestanding walls, both set towards the perimeter to optimise the clean, open aesthetic – and, of course, the views.

"An eye-catching cutout in the blade wall that shelters the stairwell is another loose interpretation of the building's form, but it also references the curvaceous kitchen and the Noguchi coffee table."

In addition, the aperture provides a visual connection to the stair and affords views across the stairwell and out a window on the other side.

The coffee table and Barcelona chairs were both selected by Solomon, as was most furniture in the penthouse.

Solomon worked with a relatively narrow material palette, again to let the beach outlooks take centre stage.

"The leading materials are American white oak, for the floors, set against the white walls, ceiling and kitchen cabinetry. Then there are the white Corian benchtops in the kitchen. Our intention was to create a bleached blond colourway, reminiscent of the beachfront itself."

With windows on all sides at this level, the penthouse is light filled and serene. While all areas enjoy the outlooks, it is the dining space, pushed out into the nose of the floorplan, that has the optimum view.

Downstairs, the master bedroom faces the same long run of windows and enjoys the same material palette. A wall of floor-to-ceiling cupboards provides ample storage on the other side of the passage that runs behind the headboard.

The master bathroom is a departure, with striated marble walls and floors, and a freestanding tub that floats like an island.

First published date: 06 October 2013

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Credit List

Architect, interior designer, kitchen designer Nicholas Solomon, MPR Design Group (Sydney)
Builders Parallel Constructions
Landscape designer Peter Glass & Associates
Cladding Rendered brickwork, paint finish
Roofing Concrete; Lysaght Klip-lok Colorbond finish for awning roof
Flooring Public areas, limestone tiles from STS Stone; penthouse, American white oak wide timber floorboards from Havwoods
Wallcoverings Dulux
Skylights Skydome
Heating system Reverse cycle air conditioning
Lighting Low-energy LEDs from JSB Lighting
Security/home automation Urmet audio-video intercom system
Doors and windows Alspec; Proline aluminium
Window and door hardware Madinoz
Penthouse louvres Nysan Horiso aluminium blinds and louvres from Turner Brothers
Furniture Aero Saarinen Tulip dining table; Arne Jacobsen Series 7 dining chairs; Barcelona lounge chairs by Mies van der Rohe; Charles Eames club chair in cowhide
Kitchen manufacturer Debrich Custom Joinery
Kitchen cabinets Gloss polyurethane in Natural White
Benchtops and splashback Corian
Kitchen sink Franke
Taps Vola
Oven, cooktop and microwave Gaggenau
Ventilation AEG
Refrigeration Liebherr
Dishwasher Miele
Bathtub Agape Spoon
Bathroom wall and floor coverings Marble
Award Waverley Design Award 2013