Architecturally inspired systems for superior style and performance

“They said, ‘we love concrete, we love steel, we love glass, we love black and white’ so it was a pretty amazing brief.”

Joe Snell


Winner of the first Australian Idol in 2003, Guy Sebastian has gone on to become one of Australia’s most loved singer/songwriters. So when AWS was asked to supply the windows and doors for his family’s dream home, we couldn’t have been more excited.

When architect, Joe Snell, first met Guy and his wife, Jules, it was a dream come true.

“They said, ‘we love concrete, we love steel, we love glass, we love black and white’ so it was a pretty amazing brief.” 

Snell knew he wanted to create an elegant façade of concrete. “I worked out the maximum size of concrete panel we could fit on a truck and then the panels were jigsawed. At no point is a concrete panel ever penetrated. Instead, the windows are formed in the negative between two panels coming together. So when you see the building there’s actually what I think is a very beautiful language of intersection of panels.”

The first thing visitors to the home see when they walk in the door is Guy’s piano. The house then drops away on both sides. “You go down to one living/kitchen area and dining and then you go down to another living area which has sort of become the kids’ area. The courtyard pushes into the middle of those two living spaces. Then you pull the doors back –these huge three-panelled doors, they come right back – and suddenly all the dining and living areas become one big space.”

On top of this, by raising the piano in the atrium and dropping down the living spaces, when Guy and Jules have a party the courtyard becomes the audience and the raised atrium with the piano is a stage. “I remember I came up with it and I said to Guy, ‘Look, mate, is this too much?’ and he goes, ‘No, no, no, this is good!’”

Right next to the atrium is a two-storey helical staircase which spirals up to a bridge containing the kids’ bedrooms, master suite and Guy’s studio. It then leads up again to a stunning ‘cigar lounge’ with sweeping views of the headland. “It really is the DNA of the house,” says Snell.

“I used a lot of black steel and beautiful windows from AWS and glass. What we did is very difficult actually. For example, on the end of the house that faces the pool I thought I was going to have to do two vertical mullions but working with AWS we worked really hard to reduce that down to a singular mullion. And to me it was very important to achieve that because when it’s one mullion you just see glass … That was a big, big win for the project and AWS were great in helping me achieve that.”

The result is a house like no other. “It’s a unique house just for them,” says Snell. “In a sense, the house is a background and a vehicle for their whole lives.”

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