A Book Lover’s Cottage in Australia Captures Light With a Glass-Block Facade

A Book Lover’s Cottage in Australia Captures Light With a Glass-Block Facade

By Tess Holland
Sibling Architecture transforms a Federation-style home in Sydney into a sunny space for reading.

With the addition of a glass-block facade, this cottage in the Sydney suburb of Tempe delivers a bright reading space for the home’s new owner, a retired English literature academic. Sibling Architecture’s Glassbook House references the 20th-century Maison de Verre in Paris, another glass structure that spotlights the relationship between material and form. Drawing inspiration from this historic French house and tiny, tri-level houses in Tokyo, Sibling crafted a complex design that appears beautifully simple in form. 

Approaching the project, Sibling "[focused] the new key living spaces around a library and the activity of reading." The two-story addition includes kitchen and dining areas on the lower level, which connects to the home’s backyard. The gorgeous, upper-level study forefronts a substantial bookshelf that extends vertically into the kitchen below. One shelf extends to wrap around a wall, creating a reading nook by the window. A section of black mesh flooring creates a visual connection between the two levels and allows more light to flood the entire cottage.

The glass-block facade ushers daylight deep into the home while still preserving privacy. The textured glass wall blurs views of the home’s interior, explains Sibling, so to neighboring onlookers in the evening, "the facade is illuminated, [only] hinting at the activities within." 

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Related Reading: 

Delightful Curves Abound in This Revamped Cottage in Sydney

A Modest Midcentury Bungalow Takes on New Life in Sydney

A Streamlined Addition Revives a Gloomy Victorian in Sydney

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Sibling Architecture / @sibling_architecture

Project Team of Record: Qianyi Lim, Nicholas Braun, Amelia Borg, Jane Caught, Nick du Bern 

Builder of Record: Arc 

Structural Engineer of Record: SDA Structures

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