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Balmoral House and the Beauty of a Lifetime Art Collection


A house that combines the modern plasticity of concrete shapes, the comfort of well-oriented home and the beauty of a lifetime art collection. This contemporary project of architects Clinton Murray and Polly Harbison is located near the sea coast of Sydney, Australia and is quite an untypical project for a neighborhood of high fences and security – the Balmoral House is open even transparent to its surrounding with art pieces strategically situated not only within but also around the house construct.

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In relation with this design choice the architects tell a funny story concerning one of the sculptures – a figure of a man laid with open arms in the patio: two small boys passing by – one questioned the presence of a ‘dead man’ while the other responded, ‘that’s not a dead man, that’s art!’

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So surrounded by the restraint and an elegant material palette of concrete and timber the art pieces of the owners collection were considered and fit in just like any other occupant. But simultaneously the architects succeeded in turning this project into a functional home, not only an art gallery – a home with its one artistry and welcoming character. The open sunny premises, the straight – lined sculptural forms of the volumes, the collision of smooth, restrain surfaces and the rich tones and textures of the art collection – all emanates clear, elegant design choice.

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The architectural design of the house is resembling a contemporary series of boxes assembled to respond to views, climate, and privacy and includes also some plastic, sculptural-like decisions itself – for example the stairwell – carved from concrete and artistically lit from above, or the built-in fixtures- kitchen island and sink or the intriguing dynamic shapes that the building corners create – like a plastic game of light and shadow. A home – memorable and sensible not only with its interior design choices and rich art collection but also with its architectural structure and overall presence.  Photographs: Brett Boardman

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