A number of themes were explored with this project.
- The development of the interior plan as an extension of the broader (borrowed) landscape. - To positively engage with the ground plane rather than a disconnected elevated living experience. - To modulate light and views to create constantly shifting visual experiences. - To create variable strategies for living inside & out under variable exposed conditions.
Beach context This beach house avoids the preoccupation to hug the boundary to maximise sea views, instead a sequence of ocean vignettes are playfully screened and framed against the house and landscape. The challenge for this site was that the property was newly subdivided and this house was one of the first to be constructed. In order to optimise privacy, and at the same time open up views, adjoining properties were modeled to second guess possible future sight lines. The brief required internal and external spaces to be able to cope with the prevailing breezes under a variety of conditions. Subsequently the envelop becomes almost infinitely switchable to enable alternate occupation of the inside and outside areas.
Materiality The immediate surrounding materials of caked sand, native pandanus and water were the reference for a palette of raw concrete, glass and zinc offset with the warmth of timber and woven cane screens to create an environment of contrast where the 'elegant' versus 'raw' versus 'refined' versus 'natural' would allow the client to feel dressed for dinner in wet togs.
Function The building primarily accommodates a family of 5 with room for another family. The plan is divided into various distinct parts: 1. Captured external space described by the series of landscaped courts 2. The lounge and study wing flanked by still water ponds with an enclosed courtyard to the west and a loosely described court to the east with the surf and ocean as its backdrop. 3. Kitchen and dining wing pushes out toward the beach and is able to open directly to the ocean to the east and/or to the court to its north. 4. The children’s wing above the lounge democratically places their rooms off a glased corridor and on a raised platform so that the extent of view to the landscape, ocean and sky can be expanded. Woven cane shoji screens conceal and reveal the extent of this prospect. 5. The glased parents suite on the eastern wing is enclosed with articulated woven cane screens which modulate light views and privacy.
Key experiences From the approach to the entry the ocean is concealed and the house turns it back on the west and the busy David Low Way. Upon passing through into the courtyard, the ocean and its horizon are revealed. Apart from this spectacle the routes through the house constantly frame and reframe other places to explore.
Boundaries are blurred between the house and beach where intimate spaces and expansive views align. Light is moderated through a series of woven cane screens which temper the intensity of glare and play with shifting shadows.