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Whale Beach House, Sydney, Australia

Thursday 31 Dec 2009

Architect helps beach house design itself

Whale Beach House by ARQEON architecture in Sydney, Australia
ARQEON architecture 
Whale Beach House by ARQEON architecture in Sydney, Australia Whale Beach House by ARQEON architecture in Sydney, Australia Whale Beach House by ARQEON architecture in Sydney, Australia Whale Beach House by ARQEON architecture in Sydney, Australia
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Turbo-charged vernacular design from ARQEON 

A beautiful site at Whale Beach, overlooking the Pacific ocean an hours drive North of Sydney, Australia giving a dress circle view over the ocean in all its moods, with the added bonus of migrating whales and dolphin pods almost on the doorstep. The orientation over the ocean view is to the Northeast, gentle sea breezes off the ocean, still days or stormy North easterlies blowing onto the very steeply sloping site.

Stringent geotechnical requirements and a high level of bushfire resistant construction required due to the proximity of adjacent bushland. The sun rising over the ocean to the east and arcing over the long side of the site from the Northwest. A home is required for a retired owner with accommodation for a busy schedule of frequent visits from grown up children and many friends to entertain over weekends and holidays.

The owner wanted a simple yet sophisticated home to take advantage of all the natural attributes of the site, create minimal impact on her neighbouring friends and achieve as high a level of sustainability and self sufficiency as the tight budget will allow. The building vernacular of the previously primarily holiday home area is of skillion and gabled corrugated steel roofs, with timber weatherboard cladding and local sandstone block base and retaining walls. All perfect for integration onto the mostly steeply sloping beautiful natural maritime bushland landscape of the area.

The architects decided to use the local vernacular elements and 'turbo-charge' them with some modern technology. All that was required was to give it a hand with some modern laminated hardwood timber beams to create lovely large naturally soaring spaces, fire resistant fibre cement weatherboard cladding and aluminium framed glazing to help with the bushfire resistant construction, double insulation to roofs and walls coupled with wide eaves and verandas to control heat gains and losses.

PV panels to turn the sun into electricity, a heat pump hot water system to turn the electricity into hot water and large water tanks to harvest rainwater from the roofs. Louver windows were then added and ceiling fans to create cross flow ventilation suitable for any weather conditions. Some architectural structure was added using decks. A rear protected courtyard with roof cut-outs allow for sitting in the winter sun. The building steps up the slope as connected single storey pavilions, creating a lovely series of interconnected interior spatial experiences.

The exterior of the building forms exterior rooms adding to the spatial experience and forming a seamless transition between interior and exterior living and entertaining spaces. Folding doors at the front and rear and side of the open plan living, dining and kitchen area can open up to create an almost tent like experience of indoor and outdoor spaces.The home was completed in August 2009.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
ARQEON architecture

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