The ground level of the Beach House integrates with the foredune of Newport Beach on Sydney’s most northern peninsula. The proximity of the house to the sand and saltwater ensures that this is a place of both beauty and drama – a pavilion to shelter from the heat of coastal summers and a platform to survey the surf or passing seasonal squalls.
The mild climatic conditions of the area are translated through the architecture, to offer a dialogue on place and the interaction between occupant, landscape, architecture and climate. Space, closure and prospect define the rituals of the day, expressing the connection between the present and the past, the land and the platform.
Dune vegetation is robust and rigid – resisting erosion and relishing the salty breath of the ocean. Beach House is similarly robust. Tuning its environment for survival. Orientation responds to the prevailing winds, photovoltaic cells and an integrated floor heating system harness the sun. A misting pond cools space with captured rainwater. The house breathes and nurtures itself through its own systems.
Early concepts for this building stipulated that occupants should be grounded ‘within’ the dune of shifting sands – to live on the ground, while sleeping in the sky. This grounding is achieved with a functional clear span area, with unusually high ceilings and a perimeter of operable walls. When the walls are peeled back fully, the only marker of the building edge is the transition from lightness to shade.
Above this level, a roof provides a canopy layer to protect a group of calm elevated rooms. With a wonderful elevated outlook to take advantage of the view, apertures from sleeping and washing spaces, reveal the garden and landscape beyond.
Each day this house resonates with the timelessness of the surrounding land and ocean, while referencing the traditional relationships between people, place and climate.
Text and Images taken from ‘Under the Edge : the Architecture of Peter Stutchbury’ published by the Architecture Foundation Australia, 2008.
Photos : Michael Nicholson. Text : Peter Stutchbury and Ewan McEoin.