Final @home for 2019 Visits Abbotsford

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Visit the final @home for 2019 on Sunday 8 December. Discover Steel Gable House, a collaboration between Hamish Watt Architect and Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio.

Steel Gable House is a new family home. Envisaged as an architect’s home for life – the project was driven to challenge the convention of a typical four-bedroom suburban house.

The project is situated on the tip of Abbotsford headland as the natural topography falls north-west to the shores of Parramatta River. The site's northerly aspect and quiet setting presented a unique opportunity to engage with the street, thereby enabling abundant sunlight and generous water views to be harnessed.

The project’s overarching form of two gables placed side-by-side makes reference to the local vernacular of utilitarian boat sheds that once proliferated the shores of Parramatta River. With its stretched weatherboard cladding, the repetitive structure of two gabled portals presents a proud and poetic gesture for a home overlooking the river.

The home’s interior attempts to shape and influence the many rituals of daily family life while delivering a sequence of airy and light filled spaces throughout. The house’s signature move is a continuous three-metre-high ‘tube’ of living space that connects the ‘public’ street with the ‘private’ backyard beyond. Elevated a metre above the street and fully glazed, the main living space is presented almost like a performance stage with motorised venetian blinds that control sunlight and privacy much like a stage curtain.

A core philosophy was to ensure shared living rooms were prioritised over bedrooms to capture the best sunlight and views. Several cavity-sliding doors have been utilised to encourage bedrooms to remain open when privacy is not a concern, thereby enabling ventilation, daylight and views to be shared across individual rooms. In many ways the compactness and layout of the house is owed to the architect’s fondness for elevated apartment living – an experience familiar to his family after many years living abroad.

The sustainable challenge of this project was to ensure a new house could remain a pleasure to its occupants well into the future. Intrinsic to this was an approach to passive environmental design that harnessed abundant sunlight while encouraging cross ventilation throughout. Made of reverse brick veneer construction with generous insulation and exposed thermal mass internally, the house is designed to moderate extreme temperature change throughout the day and course of the year. To complement these passive design outcomes, the house also boasts an 18kW PV array to harness the sun’s energy and reduce any reliance on the grid for electricity power.

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Hamish Watt studied architecture at the University of Sydney in Australia. He graduated in 2004 with First Class Honours and was awarded the Ruskin Rowe Prize for Architectural Design. 

During his career Hamish has developed a high level of expertise in complex building types including education, high-rise commercial and transport-oriented development. 

Hamish Watt is an Associate Partner with globally renowned architectural practice Foster + Partners and is currently responsible for delivering Lendlease Circular Quay - a fifty-five storey commercial tower and public plaza that once completed, will set a new benchmark for high-rise workplace design in Sydney. 

Prior to the establishment of Foster + Partners studio in Sydney, Hamish worked in both the London and Shanghai studios where he was involved in a variety of international projects including the delivery of Shanghai Riverside, a series of three 80-metre-high office towers on a prime waterfront site.

While still on assignment in China with Foster + Partners, Hamish and his wife purchased a charming weatherboard cottage on a compact suburban site overlooking the Parramatta River. Having only limited prior experience of residential architecture, the personal journey of designing ‘a home for life’ proved to be his most challenging and rewarding project to date.


Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio was formed in 2013. Based in Sydney, the studio offers a full range of architecture and interior design services and operates within a wide spectrum of site, budget, social/cultural and planning control frameworks.

Core the studio's design philosophy is to respond to every new set of requirements in a practical and custom-designed way, while achieving a high level of beauty, sustainability, long-lasting quality and uplifting atmosphere for each project. The practice works simultaneously in a variety of scales, ranging from custom light fittings and furniture pieces through to apartment developments and master plan proposals.

The studio is currently involved in projects including new houses, residential alterations and additions, multi-unit housing, as well as small commercial and public buildings. In addition to architectural practice, Mark is actively involved in design research and education. He is a recipient of the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship, and a final year Masters Studio tutor at UNSW in the Social Agency stream.


Location: Abbotsford, NSW
Please note that the address and meeting point will only be forwarded to ticket holders in the days immediately before the tour.
Time: 11.00am - 12.00pm
Date: Sunday 8 December 2019
Tickets: $35 (Early Bird) / $45 (Public) / $30 (AAA Members)

Click here and book now as numbers are limited.

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens & Annette Dearing
  • Image 1: Steel Cable House designed by Hamish Watt Architect and Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio (Photographer: Mark Szcserbicki)
  • Image 2: Exterior of Steel Cable House