Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Janita Singh

HAVE you ever won­dered what an ar­chi­tect’s own home looks like?

A new book takes you in­side 20 con­tem­po­rary homes de­signed by ar­chi­tects for them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

From ware­houses to apart­ments, new build­ings to large-scale ren­o­va­tions, Ar­chi­tects’ Houses by Stephen Crafti looks at the huge risks th­ese ar­chi­tects have taken, us­ing un­con­ven­tional ideas and ma­te­ri­als to de­sign their own dream houses.

One project that stands out is Syd­ney ar­chi­tect Domenic Al­varo’s ver­ti­cal con­crete home which is on a nar­row sliver of land in the heart of Surry Hills.

The re­cip­i­ent of a World Ar­chi­tec­ture Award in 2011, this multi-level home punches well above its size.

“We were look­ing for land, how­ever small, to build our first home,’’ says Al­varo, a prin­ci­pal of Woods Bagot, who lives in this house with his wife, Sue, and their oneyear-old daugh­ter, Alessia.

The house is on a for­mer carpark which mea­sures a mere 6m x 7m.

The cou­ple came across the site by ac­ci­dent.

“It was one of those fairly non­de­script fly­ers I picked up at the lo­cal real es­tate agent’s of­fice,’’ Sue says.

When Al­varo did a con­struc­tion bud­get for a new house, in­clud­ing the land, he could see the cost be­ing equiv­a­lent to a new two-bed­room apart­ment in the same area.

“My idea was about adding value, look­ing at the fu­ture po­ten­tial of a dis­used site,’’ Al­varo says.

“It’s com­pa­ra­ble to build­ing on a cliff face. But I was up for the chal­lenge.’’

Al­varo says the only way to build his fam­ily home was to go up and it has re­sulted in five lev­els of cosy living.

Neigh­bour­hood rooftops, above left, frame the city out­look in Domenic Al­varo’s de­sign while the rooftop gar­den off the study is worth the climb to the top.

fea­tures the Surry Hills home of Domenic Al­varo. The main bed­room in­cludes a rocking chair for read­ing bed­time sto­ries to his young daugh­ter.

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