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Alexander Symes Architect - Light House

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Light House is located in Bronte Gully which is characterised by a dense urban streetscape that steps down to a verdant green corridor at the rear. The original house was a robust but dark single-story brick house accessed via a cramped entry below street level and overshadowed by the neighbours. The aim of Light House was to radically transform the feel of the home while retaining as much as possible of the original structure for environmental and cost reasons. The design of Light House centres on strategies to introduce ample natural daylight and natural ventilation throughout the home, while connecting the interior to the garden at every opportunity.

The entry of the home was reconfigured so that you enter the house at street-level, via a green roof. This arrival sequence establishes the biophilic connection to the garden and gully that continues throughout the house. The primary bedrooms and private spaces have been retained but reinvigorated with updated glazing, skylights, and an insulated high-performance envelope. The communal spaces of the house have been reconfigured to provide more generous proportions with fluid connections to the garden. The garden has been designed in collaboration with Melissa Wilson Landscape Architect with a generous outdoor dining area and swimming pool.

An upper-floor extension hosts the entry, main bedroom, ensuite, and robe. This extension was constructed from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) which was central to the sustainability strategy as CLT provides a structural system that does not require secondary internal cladding. This efficient use of materials is part of the de-materialised design philosophy which seeks to eliminate waste and celebrate materials in their raw form. All of the new building fabric including structure, cladding, and linings were selected to be carbon negative. The combination of maximising re-use, thoughtful specification of new materials, double glazed windows, insulation, and the inclusion of solar panels, and rainwater tanks results in a beautiful and environmentally friendly family home.

Project Team

Alex Symes


AJP Constructions


Schilliger Holz CLT Solutions – Cross Laminated Timber
Cantilever Engineers – Structural Engineering
Melissa Wilson – Landscape Architect
JK Geotechnics – Geotechnical Engineering
R Balas Consulting – Civil Engineering
Napier & Blakeley – Cost Consultant
CMS Surveyors – Surveyors


Barton Taylor


Waverley Council