Diamond Beach House

By Shane Blue

Dune Springs Close, Diamond Beach, NSW

By: Bourne Blue Architecture

View from the South East

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

This site, just behind the sand dunes of Diamond Beach on the mid North coast of NSW is very flat and has a modest view over wetlands. The proximity of the ocean would enable a beachside lifestyle, however the house couldn't access ocean views to provide the amenity. The design needed therefore to work in this context and provide amenity from within. This is a holiday house for a large family, who frequently travel away with other families, so facilities for 10-15 people were required. A covenant on the land dictated that the house was to be built using brick and tile

What problems did you have to solve?

The design consisted of four components, which wrap around a central court. Living space, two different adult sleeping areas and a kids area. The living space has a slab for thermal mass and faces North. The two adult sleeping areas are identical parent's retreats at opposite corners, while the kids area has a boys bunkroom and a girls bunkroom either side of a TV area. Each of the four components is separated by a roofed deck, which either houses hammocks, a dining space or the entry. A monompitch roof wraps around the courtyard, over all these spaces, simplifying roof drainage and providing unity

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

Project engineers: Izzat consulting engineers

Builder: Sugar Creek building

Photography: Shane Blue

How would you describe the value of design in relation to the cost of the project?

By enclosing a large deck completely with the house, the private living area available to the inhabitants is extensive. As decks are cheaper to construct than house, there is quite a substantial house area built for minimal cost

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

Sliding screens of perforated mini-orb close off the roofed decks at the edge of the building, so that they are secure when the house is not in use. They also screen the undesirable sun and weather. A second set of screens wrap around the internal courtyard, which also protect against inclement weather and cater for prolonged absences. There are also rainwater tanks for collection and reuse, a solar hot water system, a photovoltaic array that feeds back into the grid, high levels of insulation to floor, walls and ceilings.

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

A courtyard house presents an alternative way of inhabiting a site, where the main external space is enclosed on four sides, but is open to the sky. By virtue of it's layout, this house works equally well for a couple staying (where just one bedroom and the living space are used), or for two whole families staying, where all areas are in use. This also presents a different way to approach the 'brick and tile' covenant, that for some reason is imposed on some new subdivisions.