The exceptionally designed family home overlooks Gordons Bay between Clovelly and Coogee, and carefully unveils the 180-degree ocean view.
“It’s a slow process of revealing the view, where you walk in and have just glimpses which tantalise and tease you and prolongs that final arrival,” D’Ettorre said in an interview with Domain.
“It’s like entering a medieval castle where you cross a draw-bridge and you look through peepholes and there are pocket-windows and you see through a veil, like a sieve, or a porthole where only one person can stand at a time.
“It slows everything down and builds the sense of anticipation.
“I took my inspiration from those castles through Europe and in Italy and, while I don’t follow Game of Thrones, yes, it is like that…”
The 63-year-old architect was born in Italy and moved to Australia in the 1960s.
He studied architecture at the University of Technology, in Sydney, and in 1984 returned to Italy to live in Sardinia, investigating many architectural sites around the Mediterranean Islands.
He later worked for Pier Luigi Nervi and Paolo Portoghesi in Rome, as well as Romaldo Giurgola and the legendary Harry Seidler in Sydney.
Award jury chair Ed Lippmann of Lippmann Partnership said this was the standout project of the year, and the unanimous verdict of the judges.
“The tendency in Sydney would be to have a glass wall and … there’s the view, which is an approach that can be boring,” he said.
“This was a beautiful orchestration of moving through the building where the view isn’t revealed too quickly.”
In total, 51 entries were recognised across 12 categories with named awards, awards and commendations.
The awards’ biggest winner was Maitland Riverlink, designed by Chrofi with McGregor Coxall, which claimed the NSW Architecture Medallion, the Sulman Medal for Public Architecture, and the Blacket Prize.
“The strength of our industry and its impact on the places we live is undeniably positive and at times revolutionary,” NSW chapter president Kathlyn Loseby said.
“Today we celebrate with our clients, consultants and contractors who helped make these projects come to life, and for the fortunate people who live, work and play in these environments which are designed to stand the test of time.”
Winners of awards and named awards will progress to the National Architecture Awards to be announced on November 7, 2019.
GB House, Sydney
Above the clear blue sea, this house embodies the spirit of seaside living in response to a magical site – endless ocean, rocky headland and the ideal north-east aspect. The design is discreet in scale, has a quiet focus and layered materiality, and is sensitive to both site and neighbours providing mystery and privacy along one of Sydney’s busiest coastlines.
Inside the house slowly unfolds, a veil of perforated brick wraps the façade directing the eye and filtering light. At ground level where the family gathers, the view is strategically angled with walls and openings for privacy and discovery leading through a series of communal, private and cosy spaces. In the master bedroom and bathroom above, this takes shape in a series of concealed lookouts for gazing along the coast.