The house grew out of its formidable site, inspired by the Illawarra Escarpment to the far west and north, and to its east the tidal ocean rock shelf and ocean beyond. Our aim was to create a ‘safe harbour’ for living; to borrow and imbed the ocean-scape within the house views and to make a home of beauty and craftsmanship.
The clients have a love for boats, concrete and all things Japanese. Their new house reads from the street as a timber house, massed as a series of boxes in reference to the coastal shacks that previously stood in the street. The ‘mass’ speaks to adjoining neighbours in height & scale. On the interior a concrete house is revealed.
The client’s program called for a house for two people, to accommodate regular visits from grown children, grand children & elderly parents. A house, with the enjoyment of ‘making and eating food’ at its centre. A house, that would creatively display the client’s art and pottery collection. A house, that environmentally responded to its location.
The House divides into three staggered floor levels relating to the landform it sits upon, the height restrictions that protect neighbour’s views behind and its own internal views out to the ocean. The largest floor level is the ‘public’ ground floor space with cooking, eating, lounge space, guest bathroom and bedroom. There is the ‘private’ first floor mezzanine with main bedroom, bathing and study perch, that overlooks the main living space below. The level that links the house with the ocean, is the lower ground floor, with an additional guest room that doubles as a Pilates space, and a covered pottery work terrace that opens to a western terraced vegetable garden and pond, and to the eastern coastal garden and ocean.
Arrival into the house, is through the northern breezeway that links all levels of the house externally. A mosquito screened ‘lung’ of the house, it allows the inner core to open up, extending areas and views. Its recycled ‘post and beam’ Spotted gum hardwood structure, is a counterpoint to the concrete ‘post and beam’ inner structure. This system allows great flexibility between inside and outside and between internal spaces.
The house site has its long section facing north, stimulating an architectural response of ‘partnered’ indoor-outdoor rooms. At main ground floor level, the kitchen opens to a sheltered central courtyard, which then connects to a terraced vegetable herb garden facing north east, protected from southerly winds. The lounge area, four steps above the ground floor level, opens to its north, into a large roofed porch that can house 20 people around a family table. This porch has a northern coastal view of disappearing headlands and a panoramic ocean horizon view to the east, and looking downwards a spectacular detailed view of the rock platform below.
In this house the landscape, environmental, structural and lighting disciplines were critically linked. A work of architecture must integrate disciplines to create a crafted whole.