Concrete Beach House
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Concrete Beach House

Beach House
Allan Powell Architects
Trevor Mein
Keen to design a house that had a sense of seclusion, architect Allan Powell designed this beach house circled by a massive sandstone wall. Framing the house on three sides, the sandstone wall forms a barrier to the neighbouring homes. "The idea came from an Italian village. It's similar to the space leftover between a cathedral and a city wall. The small unintentional space is then occupied by tables and chairs from the restaurant nearby," says Powell.

The house, overlooking a tennis court, is clearly zoned. On one side of the house are the children's three bedrooms and play area, while the other wing comprises the main bedroom and ensuite. Unifying the two zones, are the main kitchen, dining and living areas. While this division is typical of many of Powell's designs, the form and approach of the house is certainly unique.

Instead of the front door/entrance, being placed at the front of the site, Powell designed the house from a different angle. "The house is designed to drive down to the rear of the site and walk up to the front door via the side curved wall. it's only when you enter the kitchen and living area that you become aware of the expanse of the garden and the tennis court," says Powell. Using the edges of the site, rather than the traditional central position, meant Powell could retain the native vegetation, in particular the established cypress pines. "The curved walls also take in the changing moods of the moving sunlight," he adds.

There is a deliberate blurring in this house between the indoor and outdoor spaces. A concrete path leading to the front door continues through to the kitchen and living areas. "I'm not keen on the abrupt inside-out approach. I prefer using pergolas and filtering the light to create one space to explore. It was like creating a habitat against a wall," says Powell.

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