Sydney Architecture Images- Eastern Suburbs

Lyons House


Robin Boyd


Dolans Bay




Late 20th-Century Sydney Regional






The Lyons house is unique in as much as it was Boyd's only commission in Sydney. In terms of selecting an architect, Dr Lyons recalls advice he was given at the time: 'In Sydney it's Harry Seilder. In Melbourne you talk to Robin Boyd'. So how did Boyd end up with a Sydney project?  (it gives a great insight into the very different ways these architects viewed the architect/client relationship).

Lyons House, 733 Port Hacking Rd, Dolans Bay, NSW
Photographs: None
List: Register of the National Estate
Class: Historic
Legal Status: Indicative Place
Place ID: 102890
Place File No: 1/16/035/0024
Nominator`s Statement of Significance:
Lyons House, 733 Port Hacking Road, Dolans Bay, erected in 1967, has strong architectural significance as an excellent and intact example of Late Twentieth Century Organic style designed by the eminent Australian architect, author and critic, Robin Boyd of Romberg & Boyd Architects, Melbourne. The design reflects the influence of Melbourne architecture with a prevalence in the design of the Post -War Melbourne Regional style. The use of exposed timber and clinker brick, the expression of structural elements, flexible internal partitions, and the natural landscape setting are seminal components of the organic design philosophy. The significance of the house is further heightened by the design contributions of Marion Hall Best and Bruce Mackenzie. The house is the only example of Boyd`s work in Sydney.
Official Values: Not Available
The site is irregularly shaped, located off a sharp bend in Port Hacking Road. Its elevated position provides panoramic views of the Bay waters.

The house is of two-storeys height, centred around a swimming pool, and is constructed in the Late Twentieth Century Organic style with a strong influence of the Post-War Melbourne Regional style of which Boyd was a key-practitioner during its popularity from the 1940s-60s.

Due to the solid sandstone of the site, excavation proved too costly and so it was decided that the pool be constructed above-ground, with the side walls of the pool forming the core of the house. The first floor level is constructed at pool surface level, with the timber floors extending outward from the core, forming itwings" or a "ring" effect around the pool. All living areas are located at first floor level, and focus on the swimming pool. The fourth side of this floor level is an. open deck area constructed of jarrah.

The ground floor level is recessed from the perimeter of the overhanging first floor level and contains the entry hall and stair including a porthole in the swimming pool wall, and the plant, laundry and storage areas constructed around the swimming pool walls. The balance of the ground floor level is open and provides shelter under which to park cars.

Full glazed walls surround the pool, highlighting the focus of the swimming pool as the centre of activity. Sliding internal screens of translucent perspex promote the flexibility of the house. First floor finishes comprise polished timber to the Family Room, carpet to the living, dining and bedroom areas, and cork tiles to the kitchen and dining rooms. Ground level floor areas are finished in monolithic, stained concrete, with carpet to the entry area.

The gardens contribute and complement the native landscape setting, with plants including banksia ericifolia, melaleuca armillaris, and eucalyptus maculata. Driveway areas are finished with blue metal screenings rolled into bitumen, graveled areas to immediate house surrounds and lawn areas of couch turf.

The core walls of the swimming pool are constructed of concrete and the ground floor rooms of clinker brick. Timber, principally oregon, is used for the floor construction of the first level, with the exposed timber beams bracketed to the pool walls by bracing members. Each wing of the house has a flat roof of Brownbuilt metal sheeting which extends out well past the line of the externa walls to provide shading from the sun. The external walling finish of the first floor level is grey-stained timber boarding, with continuous-strip highlight glazing.

The form of the house is a direct response to the program set by the owners who had a close affinity with the design philosophy of Boyd. Dr Lyons had become familiar with the early writings of Boyd in which he wrote about his desire to "change the Australian house, to bring its design planning and structural logic and honesty in the expression of structure and materials. Lyons was attracted by the intellectual rigour of Boyd`s approach to contemporary architecture".

The house was featured in several books about the life and work of Boyd, and various architectural journals. Robin Boyd received the Royal Australian Institute of Architect`s Gold Medal for most outstanding contribution to architecture in 1969.

The home has remained in the ownership of the Lyons family for over 30 years.
History: Not Available
Condition and Integrity:
The exterior of the house is in excellent condition and retains a high proportion of original fabric and integrity. The interior of the house is in excellent condition and retains much of the original fabric and integrity.
733 Port Hacking Road, Dolans Bay, NSW 2229
Bibliography: Not Available


Report Produced: Tue Jan 30 13:25:04 2007