This site is perched on a small bluff, overlooking Merewether Ocean baths in Newcastle, on the East coast of Australia. It overlooks a surf break called ‘The Ladies’ and the south end of the beach. There is a busy road in between, and part of the brief related to ‘cropping out’ the road visually and aurally, enabling the house to focus on the beach and ocean. The site is reasonably small, with neighbours up close to the North and the West. Views are predominately to the East from the living level and then North from the upper level and the front of the block.
Ideas for the building came from the sense of permanence and durability. The nearby ocean baths, established in 1926, are whitewashed masonry and a much used community asset. This suggested the heavy white base for the lower level. The house became a composition of vertical and horizontal planes, vertical to shield from the south weather and horizontal as projections for shading and decks.
Spatially, garaging is below, parents area is above and their daughter’s area and the main living areas are on the central level that connects with ground levels at the back. The ocean breezes dictate that the main space needed to open to the ocean side when benign, however the more common arrangement was to open to the lee side. The living area is pushed as far forward as council would allow, to permit views Northward up the coastline. The rear outdoor living area contains a pool, built in seating and adjustable shade so that it is a comfortable area to open the house out to, should conditions dictate.
Completed – 2012 Builder – Ledbury Blatchford Engineer - Northrop Architect – Bourne Blue Architecture Photography – Simon Whitbread