Copper House featured in Sydney Morning Herald

A copper house in Coogee

August 22, 2014

Jenny Brown

Years of thinking and a certain creative poetry have resulted in this wonderfully distinct project.


In perfect harmony: Takt Studio’s copper house in Coogee. Photo: Shantanu Starick and Takt

What shows up in a tiny residence of three distinct and descending copper clad pavilions set on a slim, sloping block in Coogee is years of thinking and a certain poetry in the nature of the creative discourse that took place between the owner, a drama teacher, and the architects, Brent Dunn and Katharina Hendel.

The name of their Thirroul-based practice, Takt Studio, explains their overall approach: “From the German ‘tactus’, meaning sense of touch, music, time, meter and measure”. In this wonderfully distinct project that replaced a small cottage beyond repair – “held together with paint or asbestos patches”, all of those qualities stand revealed.

Touch: Along with luxurious copper that is also “used as an accent inside the dwelling”, door handles are leather, the concrete floor was hand-finished with beeswax to give it a soft lustre, and some of the walls are clad with artist canvas.

“Quite tactile and a counterpoint to the harder materials”, Dunn explains.

Music: The satisfying rhythm of “the descending box solution” that is almost Asian in concept, creates junctions, he says, “that offered the chance to frame a different direct view…so that the space never feels confined.” The asymmetrical roof skillions are also tantamount to visual music and open up high clerestory window views to the sky and neighbouring greenery to the north and south.

Meter and Measure: Pulled in from the boundaries, narrow and only 60 square metres in total, accommodation nevertheless includes two bedrooms, a bathroom/laundry, a living/kitchen/dining pod and a small garden courtyard. Dunn reckons that “overall, the sense of calm in this small building is the most delightful aspect.

“It feels private yet enables an experience of the passing of the day and the seasons.

The client had been after “a tranquil place”.

Time: Finished in 2011 this is a house that will only improve with age. Dunn returned recently to see what three years had added to the patina of the copper that was chosen “as a suitable cladding for salty environments” and as a material that would age beautifully. It was very attractively applied with vertical standing seam joins that become yet another aspect that the architect believes “strengthens the rhythm” of the building.

“The Copper House”, he found, “now has settled into it surrounds and the most exposed copper is starting to suggest some of the richer green tones in the shadows”.

The natural verdigris process is only going to make it better and better. “I expect that this will be a slow process from here, and that 50 years from now it will (still) be lovely to return”.



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