Beach House, Great Mackeral Beach

By Roth Architects
alterations & additions

Great Mackeral Beach

By: Roth Architects

The new building offers airy and open plan living with an outdoor room that acts as an intermediary between the house and the landscape.

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

The project was an alterations and additions project that used the bones of the existing beach house to create an open plan family friendly dwelling where the family and their friends could gather.

The site is situated in a remote beachside suburb on Pittwater, accessible by boat only. As a result, material choice and structural systems were directed by the site’s context and accessibility. Sandstone from the site was used, as well as materials that were compliant with bushfire codes and easily transported to the project site. 

What problems did you have to solve?

Due to the sites remote locality, access for construction vehicles and materials was restricted.  The design and construction of the building was altered to allow for ease of transportation of materials to the site.  The staging and management of the construction was important to get the most out of the cost of transportation to site.

Also removing waste from the site was a problem. During constructions significant rot in the building was discovered and the entire lot needed to be replaced. This was in combination with the discovery of a large amount of sandstone under the dwelling. The stone was originally to be removed, but the cost of removing it exceeded the cost of re-using it in the building. As a result the build was fully re-built using the sanstone.

Apart from the site’s difficult location, it was also within flood zones and bushfire prone areas which needed to be detailed within the design of the home.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

As the architects we worked closely with the client who was an artist as well as co-ordinated the consultants works including engineers, wastewater consultants, fire consultants, landscape designers and the builder all contributed to the outcome of the dwelling. This project required that the architect be able to tender and co-ordinate the consultants where is many cases the report findings were in conflict and a suitable compromise, acceptable to council, could be sort.

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

Although technically a minor addition to the existing structure, consideration was given to the building, its context and its primary purpose. This included incorporating sustainability aspects into the design such as solar orientation, shading (consideration of plants and roof forms shade the building), insulation, cross ventilation (so no air-conditioning is needed), and embodied energy (including transportation, durability, etc). Materials from the site were also recycled including all the existing sandstone from the existing building footings and the timber used was recycled where suitable.

The remoteness of the site also means that it isn’t connected to sewerage or town water. To minimise the water used by the house a waste management system utilises grey water for the garden and rain water is collected and stored for consumption and bushfire requirements.

What do you consider to be the benefits of the project for the client, users and the community?

The design is simple, retaining much of the aspects of the traditional beach house, which allows family ad their guests to have a simple beach house experience. This new dwelling allows for greater interaction between the family and their guests whilst using their home. The large deck and open plan living allows for a connected communal area which links both the guest area and main dwelling with each other.

Finally the building, despite being completely reworked, retains the character of a small fishermans beach home cottage.