O’Donnell I

Balancing a need for privacy with that of openness to the proximal offerings of its coastal surrounds, our semi-detached O’Donnell Street residences attune to the natural and cultural context of their Bondi habitat. Architecturally manipulating form, materiality and space, our design prioritises the homes’ exposure to nature’s offerings of light, sea views and breeze. Presenting a duality of orientations, we have divided the two homes through an axis of symmetry running down the centre of the site. Mirroring one another, each home is accessed directly through a beautifully landscaped front garden, designed by Dangar Barin Smith. Informed by the site topography, we have aimed to reconcile their similarities while highlighting the unique characteristics of each – resulting in an interconnected yet individuated presence. The open plan ground floor draws light from three sides, inviting cooling ocean air and sounds to flow through the space. A connecting void between the upper and lower levels bathes the brick party wall in light, permeating the interior; the brick’s colour and solidity balanced by Victorian Ash on the stair and open, exposed floor joists. Exemplifying our broader design strategy for both homes, the open metal mesh that forms the stair wall strategically silhouettes the activity within; screening and veiling inhabitants without completely obscuring them behind solid walls. With materiality intentionally chosen to evoke the building’s coastal location, the external palette contrasts off-white Austral Chillingham brickwork with black stained Abodo timber. The upper floor cladding allows for the integration of beholding screens without disrupting the continuity of the material. In keeping with our internal silhouetting, these screens add kinetic movement to the facade, permitting glimpses in and out of the dwelling. Interiors by SJS interior design complement the exterior composition, drawing upon the coastal-urban context to inspire a sense of relaxed refinement. Informed by a harmonisation of contrasting aesthetics, notably featuring curvature to form and brass accenting, the home’s internal scheme evokes an experiential sense of casualised ornamentality.


2023 Sydney Design Award, Better Future – Architecture, Multi Residential, Constructed, Silver

2023 Good Design Award, Architectural Design, Winner

Location North BondiYear 2022Credits Photography Tom Ferguson

In the spirit of reconciliation MHNDU acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.
We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.