Treetops House brings softness to contemporary concrete volumes in Sydney

Treetops House by Tobias Partners is an Australian home that juxtaposes crisp concrete volumes with soft curves, playful colours and lush nature

Treetops House striking green views from lounge
(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

Set in the verdant, eastern suburbs of Sydney, Treetops House is a careful balance of crisp concrete and soft lines. The creation of local architecture studio Tobias Partners, headed by Nick Tobias, the home, located in Woollahra, is carefully positioned in a street-facing plot, which, wrapped in foliage, does not reveal much of what's going on behind its verdant front. Here, minimalist architecture meets green nature, and unexpected, sweeping curves offer drama to the everyday. 

Treetops House concrete exterior detail

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

Treetops House: a curated experience

Treetops House was commissioned as a new home for a retired couple – and is set in Sydney’s traditional Gadigal lands. Curating the space around geometric forms and green views, the architects put an experiential element at the heart of their design. 

Treetops House blue kitchen wall and wavy ceiling

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

As the new home was conceived as a downsize from the client's previous residence, it was important it kept to a modest scale – yet still allow for the display of the owners' 'most treasured objects from a lifetime of travels and memorable occasions, including artwork, artefacts, objects, furniture and family mementoes'. 

Treetops House concrete exterior with terrace and deck chair

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

Crafted among relatively tightly packed adjacent properties and set below street level, as the site accommodates a sharp fall, the project was designed as a two-level, two-pavilion structure in order to break down the overall volume of the house and blend it more effortlessly into the leafy garden. 

Treetops House exterior with concrete against foliage

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

As a result, it remains largely hidden and discreet – as there are few external viewpoints where one can take in the entire structure at a single glance. 

Treetops House kitchen with timber curved ceiling

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

The upper levels contain the public spaces – importantly the living room, which features a glass expanse that frames the tree canopy beyond. Next to it, a kitchen, accented by a deep blue wall and a curved, timber ceiling, adds to this level's dynamism. 

Treetops House blue wall and glazing and views

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

The home's private areas, including bedrooms (for the owners and guests), a library, and an artist's studio are arranged around a central courtyard on the lower level.

Treetops House interior

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

Treetops House makes the most of its site's challenges and serene landscape, creating a contemporary home that feels elegant and sharp – but at the same time thrives in the playfulness and softness gained through clever features, textures, shapes and the omnipresence of nature.

Treetops House bedroom

(Image credit: Justin Alexander)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).