Alejandro Urena Sandoval – “Sandhurst Street”

Architectural Window Systems Industry Partner Award

Entrant Biography

Alex Urena Sandoval is a Bulli (Wollongong, Illawarra) based Building Designer focus primarily on Residential Designs, from renovations to brand new homes. Originally from Peru, South America, Alex had worked as a registered Architect in Lima- Peru between 2002 and 2010 in a range of residential & commercial projects.

Alex moved to Australia in 2010, becoming a BDA full member with Unrestricted Accreditation as a Building Designer in 2013 and re-launched his business in Australia as Alex Urena Design Studio.

Media Release Information

Alex Urena Design Studio is a Bulli (Wollongong, Illawarra) based Building Design Practice specialized in custom designed and quality residential projects. Alex offers a personal attention to his clients’ lifestyle and needs as part of the design process in order to produce a unique custom residence for each client and context. With great attention to detail, Alex’s projects will provide balance between the land and its surrounding with style and functionality.

The “Sandhurst St.” project brought an opportunity to design on a challenging site yet with outstanding views, where the brief suggested a slightly modern addition to a traditional cottage. Designing on tight spaces brings excellent opportunities to explore different alternatives for space flow and natural light, and the design approach is a direct result of utilising the site’s constraints as your biggest design assets.

Design Brief

The Brief for this project was to design a minor rear extension and outdoor living areas to an existing cottage. The site slopes down towards the yard and backs into the bush, however, it is also blessed with outstanding distant ocean views towards the east, only accessible if the floor levels are to be kept higher than the sloping natural ground.

The design challenge involved providing an extension able to be linked to: the yard, the bush & the ocean without feeling disconnected from the original cottage levels.

Design Solution

The proposal opened up the rear side of the existing cottage to a large living space, laid in such way that it can be simoultaneously link to the yard & bush on the rear side via a new covered terrace, as well as to the outstanding distant ocean views towards the east through a long featured daybed towards the side. Consecutive vertical windows above the daybed frame the ocean views, whilst a corner window provides a hint of views towards the bush. Once in the terrace, a similar vertical pattern was used on the pergola’s double posts to frame the bush views. Both vertical patterns can be enjoyed from either inside or outside the house.

A new master bedroom wing sits behind the added living space, including a study and ensuite, with the Master bedroom also enjoying a direct access to the terrace, and hence bush and ocean views. The double featured posts used for the pergola lead the way towards the stairs landing onto the backyard. From there, a recycled brick planter wraps the new addition, providing not only warm textures to the building, but also assisting to control the scale of the additions in relation to the natural ground below, and merging to the rhythm from the custom timber portals for the terrace above.