Pace McEwin Residence


This project explores a spatial, sculptural and artistic approach within a compact residence.

Pace McEwin Residence 01_street (north) elevation_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The existing façade has been completely restored, but then behind the façade the design attempts to blast a new response through this traditional Paddington terrace house in Sydney.

Pace McEwin Residence 02_entry hall 1_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 03_entry hall 2_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 04_art display detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Along the entry hall there is a ‘memory wall’ – a composition of painted abstract forms, photographs by the owner and the painting ‘Relish’, by Marika Varady.

Pace McEwin Residence 06_painting 'Relish' by Marika Varady_Stephen Varady Photo ©
‘Relish’ by Marika Varady

Pace McEwin Residence 07_dining area_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Designed and constructed at the turn of the millennium, the design takes inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: a space odyssey’ where a series of mysterious black monoliths arouse great curiosity.

Pace McEwin Residence 09_dining area_Stephen Varady Photo ©

In a similar way, mysterious black beams float through this house, drawing the observer’s attention from one source of light to the next; from the older terrace house to the new extension. The beams are both a sculptural element and symbolic signifier, raising questions about function and meaning, and they locate the occupant within this sculptural composition of spaces filled with magic, mystery + drama.

Pace McEwin Residence 08_sitting area with reverse privacy blinds_Stephen Varady Photo ©

This design continues an ongoing investigation into the contemporary inner-urban dwelling, with particular attention to the intelligent re-interpretation and adaptive re-use of a housing type (the terrace house) that is ill-suited to Sydney’s climatic conditions or to a 21st century contemporary lifestyle.

Pace McEwin Residence 10_translucent glass wall to stairwell_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The design is also one of a continuing series of explorations into sculpted architectural composition – an architectural composition inspired by Constructivism, tempered by functional pragmatism and driven by a desire to question preconceived notions about function and form.

Pace McEwin Residence 11_suprematist wall_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The colours from the entry wall continue through to the suprematist composition in the stairwell, which camouflages the wall and door to the laundry and guest WC.

Pace McEwin Residence 15_view to kitchen + courtyard_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The formal spaces of the house remain darker and more enclosed at the front, with the less formal spaces opening up at the rear. Within the constraints of the traditional terrace house block the design draws much-needed new natural light and ventilation into these previously cramped spaces, without compromising privacy to and from the neighbours.

Pace McEwin Residence 16_suprematist wall with concealed laundry door_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 18_living + kitchen_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 17_kitchen_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The less formal living area at the rear incorporates an eat-in kitchen bench that allows guests to engage directly with their host before, during and after their meal is prepared.

Pace McEwin Residence 19_skylight detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

On a constrained site, the south-facing rear of the house has been cut through overhead with a clear glass light-shaft to draw light and sunshine inside.

Pace McEwin Residence 20_sun from skylight_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 21_sculptural beams 1_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 23_living + rear garden_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The extension then opens to a sun-filled courtyard that showcases a collection of Asian statues and incorporates a glazed fish pond.

Pace McEwin Residence 25_glass fishpond + artefacts_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 26_glass fishpond_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 27_glass fishpond detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

A smaller courtyard has also been created between the kitchen and stair, again drawing natural light into these spaces.

Pace McEwin Residence 29_courtyard_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 12_stair + courtyard_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 14_stair with wine storage_Stephen Varady Photo ©

A clever re-orientation of the stair gains another metre upstairs, allowing a new en-suite bathroom to be inserted within the existing first floor envelope.

Pace McEwin Residence 30_stair detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 31_stair detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

A well positioned venting skylight draws light downstairs through the stairwell, but also allows light into the adjacent bathroom through its sandblasted glass wall.

Pace McEwin Residence 32_stairwell_up_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 33_stairwell_down 1_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 34_stairwell_down 2_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The design uses glass in numerous ways, opening up the constrained existing terrace with a series of glass incisions. Translucent glass walls, glass floors, glazed doors, skylights and clear glass light-shafts draw light and sunshine into all spaces.

Pace McEwin Residence 35_sliding translucent glass bathroom doors_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 36_bathroom_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 37_bathroom_marblo vanity_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 38_bathroom_marblo vanity + tap_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Marblo has been used to create the custom-made vanity bench where the Vola tap can be used at the built-in sink or swivelled to fill the bathtub.

Pace McEwin Residence 39_bathroom_marblo vanity + swivel bath tap_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 40_bedroom_glass floor balcony_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The new bedroom balcony with its glass floor acts as a skylight for the rooms below, and a cleverly composed wardrobe squeezes the small gap between wall and window.

Pace McEwin Residence 41_bedroom_joinery_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 43_en-suite_marblo basin 2_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The bathroom and en-suite walls and floor are clad in Colourback glass, providing a durable, easy maintenance surface. The compact en-suite plan places a 400mm wall between a pair of 400mm doors, maximising efficiency and creating a reasonably generous 1.2m wide shower. Marblo is used again to create the custom-made basin.

Pace McEwin Residence 44_en-suite_marblo basin 3 detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Pace McEwin Residence 45_en-suite_marblo basin 4 detail_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The window is fixed and translucent for privacy and security, however there is an opening skylight to allow for ventilation.

Pace McEwin Residence 46_en-suite ceiling + skylight_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The final design has created a series of magical, dramatic spaces without sacrificing functional constraints, all achieved within tight council restrictions.


Pace McEwin Residence_elevations + sections_Stephen Varady Image ©

Pace McEwin Residence_plans_Stephen Varady Image ©

Pace McEwin Residence_section_Stephen Varady Image ©


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