Bondi House 01
Architect James Garvan readily admits that most of the bespoke homes he designs aren’t surrounded by bush. However, as the recent fires along the central coast of New South Wales showed, fire could strike from anywhere. “The homes I’ve designed still need to be resilient, built to last for the long term, rather than simply for the latest trend or fashion,” says Garvan, who has just completed a house in Clovelly, clad entirely in ironbark. “It’s a proven timber that stands the test of time. Just look at the woolsheds dotted around Australia or the beach shacks from the 1950s that continue to be enjoyed,” he adds.
Garvan also enjoys working with steel, but is mindful of using it for a house perched on a cliff. “If I am using steel in a fairly exposed environment, it’s always treated with an iron oxide, not dissimilar to the one used for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.” And rather than imposing his own architectural vision on a client, Garvan sees the design process as one of collaboration, with the needs of the client both now, and into the future, being addressed. “It’s not about how I want to live, but how my clients use a home and what they want to achieve in the process. That translates to resilient architecture.”